I may hold the North American Record for self-help books purchased at Borders and now that Borders is gone, my record will stand forever.  Ah, self-help immortality.  This might give one the impression that I’ve had a difficult life but if you’ve been coming around here for a while, you know that’s not true.   While there certainly have been struggles (many of them inside my head 🙂 ), I’ve had a very good life.  But somehow … mostly through my mother’s example, I  think … I became an adult with a deeply seated belief that life is for learning.  Much of my learning prior to age fifty was intellectual, often scientific – the focus has been more spiritual and emotional since.  One of the struggles inside my head has been learning to be mindful.

Sometimes, it seems as if every time I open a drawer or visit a neglected bookshelf, I find a forgotten book.  Yesterday, it was Attitudes of Gratitude, by M. J. Ryan.  In a meditation titled Take Time to Smell the Roses, she reminded me of Stillpoints, pauses in time during unfilled minutes in my day during which I can become mindful.  I can stop, notice my breathing and remember something inspiring or beautiful.  I like the idea of noticing something beautiful nearby … a flower, the smile of a child, the cheerful yellow of a banana in the produce aisle.   In David Kundtz’s Quiet Mind, he suggests using Triggers to remind us take a Stillpoint … the ring of a phone, a red light, the sound of a bird.   I can even set my watch chime or a reminder in my phone.  Imagine that, a smartphone contributing to mindfulness.

Quiet Mind used to be one of my daily readers.   At my age it’s hard to tell whether I missed the page on Stillpoints and Triggers or just forgot about them.  It doesn’t matter … it’s something I can use these days.  Now, excuse me … I need to add a reminder to my Blackberry.  Then it’s Stop … Breathe … Notice.

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8 Comments on “Stillpoints”

  1. Sage advice, Bud. Very good advice indeed.

  2. One of the best times for me to “notice” things that are otherwise easy to neglect is on my commute to work. (Not so much on the way home. It’s dark then.) The drive to work is when I notice how quickly the seasons change. I drive in smiling when it’s sunny nowadays, happy to see the colors morphing. I drive in fretting when it’s rainy or windy (or worst: rainy AND windy) because I’m afraid the leaves are all going to drop before they hit their peak. (I think they’re there now.) Yesterday I noticed a mist hovering over a slowly-running river between the colored banks. I notice roadkill. Like, in detail. And flotsam on the side of the road. Which I almost always think is a body, at least at first.

    Some of the things I notice aren’t entirely pleasant.

    But it’s nice to be mindful, anyway!

    • oldereyes Says:

      I sometimes miss working and I sometimes miss the drive. I had a dozen different routes that I’d mix up randomly, partly just for a change of scenery but partly for and assortment of things to notice. Very enjoyable comment, by the way. Thanks

  3. Jeni Hill Ertmer Says:

    Mish mash of turmoil here lately and I find myself needing to stop the mind from racing and remember to Let go and Let God in order to try to regain composure and stop the stomach from the very frequent churning. It will pass -just keep worrying about consequences, etc. and to remember I have no control except over myself!

  4. Rick Gleason Says:

    You and I — in many ways — think so much alike Bud, it’s scary. You’re so much better however at expressing those thoughts and your life-experiences far different from my own.

    It’s always a pleasure to compare notes from your unique observations and perspective.

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