When I started writing this post I wasn't exactly sure what was going into it. I knew the title--"Everyday Miracles"--and the gist, that there are everyday blessings that we take for granted and even stop seeing, especially in this time of fear about pandemics, violence, and polarization. And these miracles are what make my Life--make it worth living. How can I not be present to them?
These thoughts came to me during a morning meditation when I opened my eyes for a moment and noticed my surroundings. It was still dark, but I could see most of the first floor of my house. There was the dining room table, the hutch, the artwork, and my living room with its furniture and books and videos and CDs barely showing in the moonlight that filtered through the windows.
So I went for it and started thinking of all the things I could be grateful for but forget about because they are just there every day.
- My toilet flushes!
- I don't have a toothache.
- The lights work.
- My body is comfortable.
- The sun is shining.
- I can hear crickets singing their morning song. (I can hear!)
- I live in a quiet neighborhood.
- My family is well.
- I am well!
Of course every day brings moments of stress, too. Longing for things to return to "normal," for the certainty of a vaccine, or the possibility that we will eventually come together as a nation to talk about our differences and resolve them. Longing for peace.
And then I realize I have that peace now, in this moment of meditation, or at any moment I choose to take a cleansing breath, exhale, and come back to center. What we long for isn't somewhere else. What we long for is available now. In the present.
Philip Simmons says it beautifully in his book, Learning to Fall, The Blessings of an Imperfect Life:
The present moment, like the spotted owl or the sea turtle, has become an endangered species. Yet more and more I find that dwelling in the present moment, in the face of everything that would call us out of it, is our highest spiritual discipline. More boldly, I would say that our very presentness is our salvation; the present moment, entered into fully, is our gateway to eternal life.
Simmons wrote this book, which I highly recommend reading, shortly after he was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and told he had less than five years to live. It’s an amazing book about the power of presence.
Lastly, as I was looking through photographs that might be suitable to head this post, I found the one you see of my mom and me last summer. Mom turned 95 in August, and I speak with her at 8:15 every morning. An everyday miracle for sure! Every day, our call reminds me that none of us know how much longer we have to be grateful for this day, how many more times we will see the sun or the moon, or see each other on Zoom, or feel the joy that comes from knowing everyone is healthy and happy. Mom knows the meaning of presence and of living life with a positive spirit. Maybe that's where I learned it.
So, take this ki moment to stop, look around, listen, and notice your everyday miracles. Share them below, if you like!