Friday began - blah.
It was cold and rainy, although we definitely needed the rain I had gotten spoiled by the warm sunny summer days that we truly had enjoyed outdoors (note: grateful), even amidst a pandemic. Friday began by me missing my Yin yoga class that I was planning to take as a student. Taking a class is still a gift when you're a Yin teacher! After a delayed start I headed to the dermatologist for my annual skin check, (and yes, we all need to do this. It's Breast Cancer Awareness month did you know? Have you made your annual appointments for your girls and your skin?). I left the dermatologist with several frozen spots, not so pleasant five-second 'shots' to say the least, and a bandaid, thanks to those aluminum foil lined album covers and baby oil in my teens (Please use sunscreen daily!). Hmm, is this the start of my weekend?
With a 'happy place' detour (I LOVE grocery shopping) at Whole Foods to pick up supplies for the weekend that I couldn't find at my local grocer, I headed home to run an afternoon errand with my husband. A two hour drive north errand, in the rain. We listened to and discussed a Rich Roll podcast while I kept my eyes ready for good foliage pics to send his brother, but the splatting raindrops, 18-wheeler mist and thumping windshield wipers kept getting in the way of a good photo or video.
We were heading to pick up our restored 1950s Old Town motorboat that had been winterized for storage. After we made it to the boat shop, with 15 minutes to spare before their gates closed (we had already missed it once), we bounced and jounced through the water-filled potholes of the dirt parking lot to hook up the trailer, and headed to our family 'camp' for one last fall walk through. Rather than driving into our driveway and having to turn around with a boat in tow in tight surroundings, we had parked across our next door neighbor's driveway and walked through the woods, in the light drizzle, to our cabin. I did the inside walk-through as my husband took care of the outside.
There is something about this old log cabin in the woods with a glassy lake, and the silence of all the ski boats, jet ski and pontoons put to bed for the winter, that causes you to pause, take notice of your surroundings and inhale s-l-o-w-l-y... and then exhale with a smile - even if in the rain. All around me were the colorful leaves I was looking for! I was surrounded by a bed of brilliant maple leaves framed by yellow. I stood there grinning and took a picture of my feet in the leaves, as if the nail polish were intentionally chosen for this moment and the embroidery on my jeans to accent nature's beauty as well. My husband came around the corner of the cabin and asked, "What are you doing???" My feeling reminded me of when I was a kid, jumping through puddles in the street and swooshing my feet through the fall leaves in the yard. I looked up, ripped off my raincoat, threw it to the side in the rain and said, "Take a picture. It is SO beautiful!"
So often we hurry through our days, working, going to appointments, 'judging' the weather (even when the change is desperately needed), annoyed by something that happened or disappointed by what didn't work out, when all around us is the beauty we were meant to see. Slow down. Your body needs rest. Practicing presence is a PRACTICE.
For many years I commuted to Boston with my father for work. Back then I certainly wasn't looking at technology in my hands, I was probably napping (being a teenager or working during college break). I can hear his voice saying, "Look up. See what is happening around us." He would make note of a new store or restaurant on the drive, a car passing by (as a father of five driving a wagon or SUV he loved little sporty cars, which he eventually got to enjoy). He would give us driving instructions on how to drive in traffic and to leave the window cracked to hear for approaching cars, your engine, or God forbid a flat tire, and would give directions of getting to where we were going - of course the 'back' way. He wanted us present in the car whether we were passengers or a driver. My Dad told me they built their home where they did so that he could drive by a particular lake on his way home each night and gaze at the peacefulness of the reservoir, just before arriving home to a busy house.
I am thankful for those early lessons of observation and practicing presence. I am thankful for my church family who always teach gratitude. I am grateful for my yoga teachers Shannon, Kim, Amy and Josh who continue to nudge the practice of presence along. I am grateful for my students and clients whom I get to encourage along as well. I am thankful for yesterday's rainy day that kept me too late in bed, removed an item or two from my morning calendar (God knew what I needed that day), and placed a rainy hush over the woods so that I would NOTICE the peaceful-riot of colorful beauty around me and say, "Thank you".
Educator, coach, Yin Yoga instructor and advocate for healthy, toxin-free living. Organic gardener, whole-food, plant-based cook. Service-minded Rotarian. Photographer. Storyteller.