At the beginning of a yoga class we take a few moments to quiet down the mind and bring our thoughts toward our intentions for the class, to help guide us in our practice and help us to keep focused toward those intentions. Throughout a class we continually draw our minds back to those intentions and refocus our wandering minds. And at the end of class we draw our hands to our heart, we pause to bring to mind a thought of gratitude, and we end by saying “namaste” which means I honor my continual practice of yoga and my journey through life while simultaneously acknowledging yours and the beauty of our differences.

This week I have been intentionally pausing for brief moments to honor what I am grateful for. In these brief moments of reflection, I have seen a little girl filled with awe and wonder, vivaciously taking in the world around her. I have seen families walking to the park together. I have seen the wide eyes of children splashing in the swimming pool, water droplets surrounding everything they do. I have heard birds chirping in the early morning hours, awakening the dawn. I have been present for fulfilling conversations. I have soaked in rays of sunshine beaming down, and even accepted the raindrops as tiny gifts of fresh dew to water my garden. I have seen wonder, I have seen blossoms and even swayed on a swing just taking it all in.

Amazing what we can find when we are looking. Amazing what we can hear when we are listening. Amazing the friendships we can foster when we take the time. Amazing what we can become when we are intentional.

This week I am challenging us all to pause, to find something to be grateful for and to not just acknowledge it, but to actually sit with it, and allow it to wash over our souls, permeating our entire beings and effervescing out into how we live our lives today.

Duck Crossing

duck crossing road sign yellow warning reflection balance poise psychology

I have mentioned it before, but we have a duck pond near our home that we walk by each day on our walk. We often pause to watch the ducks swimming or waddling down the path. The street that runs past the park is a 35 mile an hour speed zone, not uncommon for a residential setting. Within the past year a new health club has gone up across from the duck pond and park, and with it has brought a fair amount of additional traffic flow down our little two lane road. We have signs posted on either side of the road indicating duck crossing in this area, alerting people to the potential flow of small bird families going from one side to the other.

We have lived here a few years now and drive this road multiple times a day, but this week as I went for a run with my daughter and we paused just down from the pond, to see approximately 8 cars lined up on one side of the road and about 4 or 5 on the other, just patiently waiting for this little family of ducks to make their way to the other side of the road safely. Mama duck was leading, 5 little ducklings followed and Daddy duck was bringing up the rear a couple feet behind. And here on our busied street, with people coming and going from their homes to work, and to the gym to workout etc… everyone had come to a stop and patiently waited, for what seemed to be actual minutes as those ducks meandered slowly across the road, not a care or worry about them.

In all honesty it brought back a little ray of hope for us as a culture as I witnessed the care that was being taken to provide a safe passage way for these little ducks that decided they wanted to cross the road, during one of the busiest times of the day. People were likely not expecting a delay and for the most part I’m sure were hoping that the ducks could speed up a little, as I did hear a horn or two honk in high hopes, but to their dismay, the ducks carried on at their own pace until they reached the other side and then traffic flow was able to resume.  But the simple fact that people cared enough to slow and even stop, to be aware enough of their surroundings that they saw the ducks crossing the road, to be mindful enough to alter their course, even for a few short moments… It made me realize that there is still some value left in our community, and that there is enough compassion that we care about a little duck family.

So much of the time we are so busied and worried and flitting about that we don’t even make eye contact with our own fellow human beings, let alone acknowledge a small animal on the road.

In my larger quest for balance and ongoing challenge to be more mindful of the world around me, I appreciated this very candid moment to remind myself that it is possible, even in today’s culture and with all our to do’s and business, to stop for a duck crossing.