I opened my desk drawer this morning and found a sticky note with the following words on it....
Breathe - this moment will pass ✨
For a long while I had a daily morning practice of writing a mantra for the day on a sticky and posting it to my computer. I would obviously switch it out for a new one (though many times with the same phrase) the next day, because even having the one sticky there was a strain on my anti-clutter brain.
To be honest, I don't remember why I wrote this or what was going on that day, but I'm so glad I had the insight to give myself that grace and compassion.
I kept the stickies, and sometimes flip through when I'm bored or when I need a little positivity.
And this morning, this one conveniently found it's way into my awareness.
Handwriting lessons available upon request ;)
It reminds me of something I heard in a beachfront yoga class in Tulum a few years back:
It's not forever, it's just right now ✨
Yes, we know this in theory, though it's much more challenging to remember and put into practice in the moment, when we really need it.
What might change if you could remember this truth in moments like:
The kids are fighting, whining, lying, crying, screaming, hitting or doing any number of joyful things our little people do
You are tempted to have another serving even though you are already uncomfortably full
The dog pees on the carpet... again... even though she's 3 and your husband wants to throw you both out of the house 💃
The kids want you to read them "just one more story" but you're already exhausted
You're trying to quit something like smoking, drinking, gambling, or online shopping - this could be HUGE
Your boss calls you out in the big meeting
The bills keep pouring in and you're struggling to stay afloat
Traffic jam when you're already late 😉
Having a panic or anxiety attack
When the contractor adds 3 months and $30k onto your already late and over-budget kitchen reno
Anger, greed, guilt, desire.... These feelings come over us and they are all-consuming and feel so big and so important, it's hard to imagine that they won't feel like that forever. That's when you can remind yourself, (over and over if you like...)
Breathe - this moment will pass ✨
An Alternate Use....
So, yes, this phrase is very useful in challenging or stressful times, but what about preserving a beautiful moment and recognizing that this too is fleeting, and you get to pause and cherish it.
Reminds me of this famous photo of people clamoring to get a picture as Pope Francis goes by. Check out the woman front and center, just soaking up the moment.
What might she know that the rest of us don't?
How can remembering the fleeting nature of even positive, warm, and bright experiences transform moments like:
A sticky-sweet kiss from a precious little baby
An unexpected kindness from a stranger
Touching into true and unexpected compassion
A knowing look from a trusted friend
Watching your children and parents play poker in the kitchen
A phone call from a friend at just the right moment
Feeling warm sun on your face
Looking in the mirror and actually feeling good about what you see
Randomly bumping into the long-lost friend you just thought about this morning
Getting to the 'good part' of a great novel
Watching your child receive their college diploma
A warm snuggle from a loved pet
Trying something new, even though you were afraid
Taking the time to savor and appreciate these beautiful, and often simple, moments is a big step toward living a more mindful life.
The Shared Heart
I love this powerful and simple practice from Pema Chodron, a beloved Buddhist nun.
It reminds us to pause and recognize what is actually here.
We are also reminded that experiences we label as 'good' or 'bad' - are both fleeting. So in the good times we appreciate it, and in the bad times we know it will pass.
When you come across true pleasure, tenderness, or joy, first cherish it and then make a heartfelt wish that others would feel this as well.
Know: I can share out this happiness.
When you encounter pain in your life (disappointment, grief, sadness, heartache, loneliness, disconnect...) breathe into your heart the deep recognition that others also feel this.
Know: It’s not just me.
This is the Shared Heart of our humanity.
This practice reminds us that we are all connected.
It also reminds us to breathe and be present for what is here, with the recognition that it won't always be this way; good, bad, or indifferent.
It is one of the most beautiful, comforting and connecting practices I know.
Try it today. Don't wait. Do it while you wait on line, or with your kids, or anytime you're struck by an emotion - positive or negative.
Create a habit around being present to what is - rather than our insistence on wishing things were different, so we can finally be 'happy'.....
Your life will never be the same ✨
With so much love,