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July 14, 2017

Dark CloudsThe theme for this summer seems to be Mindfulness. I am getting hit at every turn on a topic with which I’m not particularly familiar. As I give more attention to this concept (i.e. being more mindful), I’m increasingly aware of references to, and directives toward, mindfulness. The more mindful I am, the more mindful I become.

Mindfulness is awareness – a mental state achieved by focus, presence, and a calm acceptance of self and situation.

In Sunday’s 1st reading (Genesis), Abraham sent a servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac. The servant was especially mindful (praying, watching, acting and recognizing) with a positive outcome for Isaac (Rebekah).

The Epistle, from Paul’s letter to the Romans, about our “wretched” human nature as we battle/succumb to temptations, despite our best intentions, advises faithfulness as a path to mindfulness (in our eternal battle against sinful inclinations).

In Matthew‘s Gospel, Jesus explains the revelation of truth as a gift to those who approach with fresh eyes, eager to understand. If we presume to know, we will never know. Jesus says, “Learn from me…you will find rest for your souls.”

In each passage, there’s a message of mindfulness.

Later in the day, as we enjoyed an afternoon swim, I became mindful of the weather. A storm slowly formed, threatening to disrupt our fun. I watched the sky and I watched radar. We could have packed up and headed inside, but it was enough to be mindful, so we continued to enjoy our time outside. The storm passed without a single thunderclap.

Mindfulness takes practice. I’ve recently added meditation to my morning routine, using an app that is geared toward beginners, which is perfect for me. The 1st week’s focus was on Mindfulness (of course!).

I am learning to sit still for 10 minutes, allowing myself to just be. For those of us who seem to be hard-wired as Marthas, always aware of, and pressured by, our to-do lists, it is hard to embrace the obedience of being, especially of being still. Yet, from Psalm 46:10, God says, “Be still, and know….” I am embracing this as Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is not the same as thinking and analyzing, although, it does involve a good deal of consideration. Mindfulness turns busyness into purposefulness. It’s okay to make a to-do list, but…is everything on the list of equal importance? By being mindful, I can prioritize, and include “fun” on the list of things to do.

Fun, as a form of recreation, is the act of renewal that is vital to our spirit. Some of us (*ahem*) must list recreational activities on our to-do list, in order to ensure we don’t neglect this aspect of our lives. Whether alone or in community, we must be mindful of our need for restoration.

Ultimately, practicing mindfulness is an effort to know God. As a friend pointed out, “Prayer is where you speak to God, Meditation is where you allow God to speak to you”. With mindfulness, I can listen, hear, understand and respond accordingly.

LORD, help us be mindful of you, so that we might better know you. Amen. 

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