I am totally blown away! Poetry Friday friend and children’s author extraordinaire Tabatha Yeatts has been doing poem / song matchups. Today she matched “Mindfulness,” below with some absolutely gorgeous music!
Have a listen as you read … and then pop up here again to enjoy the beautiful scenes that accompany this plainsong chant.
She’s also paired more poems and songs… so much poetic goodness HERE!
Today the Spiritual Journey Thursday word is MINDFULNESS. It is my one little word.
When I was thinking about choosing a word for this year, the picture of our greet-each-other time in church on Sundays came to mind. People have different ways of handling this brief but regular part of our Sunday morning gathering.
I like it when the person I’m greeting or who’s greeting me looks at me and, even for a second or two, gives me their full attention. Too often that’s not the way it happens though. Too often the eyes of the person I’m greeting are looking away to the next person—or wherever. I’m afraid that I’m sometimes that inattentive greeter too. The word “mindfulness” came to mind as the opposite of the inattention I dislike in others but especially in myself.
Mindfulness, simply defined, is “being present in the moment.” It also has a psychology definition:
“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience” – Definition from Psychology Today.
Personally I like that second definition except for the bit about not judging. I reserve the right to judge and filter out thoughts that are critical, negative, pessimistic, hateful, etc.
Along with choosing my word for the year, I chose a Bible verse to supplement it. My year’s verse for 2016 is Isaiah 26:3. I’m memorizing it in the Amplified version. (I’ve substituted the pronoun “her” for “him”):
“You will guard her and keep her in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because she commits herself to You, leans on You and hopes confidently in You.” Isaiah 26:3 AMP
The poem below elaborates mindfulness a bit more and how I’m focusing on it this year.
I have brightened the walls
and enhanced the lighting
in the rooms of my mind
in order to see clearly
the thoughts that come and go.
I have put up surveillance cameras
in each room and at the door.
At the end of the day
I replay the scenes
to better understand the role
of my thoughts in the day’s happenings.
When doubt, fear, criticism, self-pity
pride and their negative relatives
manage to slip in (and they do)
I freshen the atmosphere
with balms of faith, hope, and love.
They cannot stand the fragrance
and quickly leave.
I am working on using
my single-purpose cubicles
(where no media is allowed)
for reading, listening, praying.
I welcome spies
from the land of dreams
and the outposts of intuition
inspiration and second-thought,
for they bring important insights
to my battle against inattention.
© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)
Now I’m so looking forward to reading what other Thursday journeyers will say about “mindfulness”!
This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday hosted each week by Holly Mueller at her blog Reading, Teaching, Learning.
February 25, 2016 at 6:25 am
Thank you for sharing your OLW with us! Special thanks for illuminating that word with your back story (which gives me pause for self-examination), your poem that I need to reread more than once for its instruction and reminders of things I “know” to do or not to do, but mindlessly do the opposite, and your guiding Scripture verse which I’m not sure I ever “heard” before…’course, if I did, that’s evidence of my need to be more mindful about the most important things to keep in mind. All told, your post is a garden of mindful delights. Many thanks, and God bless you!!!
February 25, 2016 at 11:46 am
Thanks, Bobbie! Like I heard one song writer lady say at one point (my paraphrase), ‘I hope nobody expects me to be living up to the lyrics I write–they are more aspirations than things I’ve accomplished’ — that’s what today’s post is for me. It’s the ideal. I’m so not there!
February 25, 2016 at 2:59 pm
I’m smiling & remembering : as Joyce Meyer says, “I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be. I’m OK, and I’m on my way!” …I love your paraphrase of the lady song writer…I need to quote your paraphrase! …God bless you. Thanks for sharing your aspirations; you’re more on your way than 99% of others I know!
February 25, 2016 at 6:56 am
Violet, it is a fine day when I am immersed in a mindful experience as you unfolded. Your poem is illuminating on what I should do to keep my mind focused. Thanks for sharing your word and thoughts. May I borrow your single purpose cubicles to set up my own mindful practice?
February 25, 2016 at 11:43 am
Thanks, Carol. Of course, borrow away!
February 25, 2016 at 3:43 pm
Dear Violet, thank you for this post! I am guilty of not looking people in the eye… it’s something I am really working on. For me, it’s partly due to my introvertedness… I like to cruise through life invisible a lot of the time! But one thing I’ve discovered as I’ve brought books into the world is that connecting with other people is really the best part. And one simple way to do that is to look someone in the eye, flash a smile to say, hello, I see you, we’re in this world together. Thank you for your poem — and for your word! xo
February 25, 2016 at 4:41 pm
You, Irene? Really? You seem like such a warm, friendly person. My thought, though, is that those of us who struggle with shyness and then face our tendency to avoid eye contact will, in the end, have a genuine interaction with people simply because we are intentional about it.
February 25, 2016 at 5:26 pm
I love your single purpose cubicles for reading, listening, praying, with no media allowed. Great to read your thoughts on such a wonderful OLW.
February 25, 2016 at 5:27 pm
‘I have brightened the walls and enhanced the lighting.” I love this metaphor for being more mindful. I’m introverted too and often have trouble initiating conversations. I appreciate those that see others, that care with their eyes. I strive to be more attentive. Thanks for this post.
Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
February 26, 2016 at 10:32 am
Beautiful, Violet, and most certainly enhanced by Tabatha’s musical attentiveness!
February 27, 2016 at 6:02 am
This is incredible, Violet! I love your poem, and the music suits it perfectly. The Isaiah verse is one of my mainstays. I will have to come back to this post when I need a “refocus moment!”
February 27, 2016 at 7:12 am
Thanks, Becky. Nice to meet another person who hangs onto verses like Isaiah 26:3! Isn’t the music Tabatha paired with the poem gorgeous? I was totally speechless to get this ‘gift’. Tabatha is amazing!!
February 27, 2016 at 12:22 pm
The music beautifully accentuates the mindfulness of your words.
February 28, 2016 at 2:55 am
…how you “welcome spies
from the land of dreams
and the outposts of intuition
inspiration and second-thought”–
Each morning in my 2nd grade classroom we greet each other with a playful morning greeting–but always I ask the children to make eye contact. It matters, even for a second.
February 28, 2016 at 7:28 am
Heidi, thank you! That habit of eye contact you’re instilling in your students is a wonderful gift. They are blessed to have you as a teacher.
February 28, 2016 at 6:37 am
Like Heidi, I love that last stanza! Isn’t it wonderfully serendipitous that you received Tabatha’s beautiful poem/song about mindfulness!!
February 28, 2016 at 7:13 am
I know, Holly! It’s so perfect–a lovely gift.
March 1, 2016 at 5:03 am
I like those single-purpose cubicles!
March 1, 2016 at 5:17 am
Thanks, Dori! The trick is to actually use them. 🙂