The Moment When . . .

By siegertmarc (The right moment  Uploaded by MaybeMaybeMaybe) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Image Courtesy: By siegertmarc (The right moment Uploaded by MaybeMaybeMaybe) [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons]

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” –Omar Khayyam

Sometimes we experience time warps. Moments can feel like millennia. Seconds can fill days. Days fly by in blurs. Moments are beginnings and endings. Life is lived in those moments. What are some of those moments for you?

The moment when . . .

You look across the room to see the person you love staring at you.

The words you said hang in the air and you cannot take them back.

You did not get to say the thing that is impressed upon your heart.

The event you have been looking forward to finally takes place.

You look in the mirror and see your well-worn and well-loved spirit in your reflection.

Lunch cannot come soon enough.

It is time to fly to new opportunities and new settings.

It is time to sit back and reflect.

That feeling of dread hits you in the stomach like a brick.

You feel relief when someone comes forward to share the burden.

You take a big gasp of air, breathless from laughing.

You pause and walk away, grateful for the foresight to do so.

Your hands are covered in dirt and you are as happy as you have ever been.

They step off the train.

Strangers become friends.

Friends become strangers.

The sun sinks into the horizon.

The clap of thunder startles you.

Your head hits the pillow.

You pull off your hiking boots and socks after a long hike.

You send a loved one off to war.

You put the letter in the mail.

You pick up the phone to answer.

Your heart breaks.

Your heart becomes whole.

All of your effort and hope is not enough.

You smile at a stranger.

You bask in sunlight.

You feel your wisdom, only to rebound into foolishness.

You make a friend who will be there throughout life.

You realize love is all there is.

You let go of ego.

There seems to be no hope.

You are healed and new, broken and old.

Everything you thought you knew is no longer so.

You doubt your strength.

You help someone else.

You sink into a deep sleep.

You wake refreshed and ready.

You swat at a fly.

You hear the song that makes you remember.

You let go and dance.

You are surprised.

You say yes.

You ask the big question.

You are brave.

You stand up for someone.

You begin again.

You take a different path.

You know that some advice is given by the ones who need it most.

You realize intention and actualization are different.

You realize that some lessons are difficult to learn.

You discover someone else is fragile.

You stop trying and start being.

You realize that life is a big and beautiful mess.



A dozen ways to savor and then slip out of summer mode

Kary Schumpert @runningintolife:

I wrote this two years ago, but I think these are still excellent ways to celebrate and savor the end of summer.

Originally posted on Running Into Life:

Summer is as much a season as a state of mind. Some of us tend to slow down because of the heat. Some of us slow down because that’s what we do. We might be following kids’ schedules or following the pace of our business plan. Sometimes we’re not vacationing or even slowing down, but there’s still a “summer mood” in the air. Suggestions for summer reading lists capture our attention and local festivals give new life to the “same-old, same-old” existence of every day. Summer is a mindset, even a lifestyle.

My own daily life switches very quickly from summertime to school-time and busy-time. As an environmental educator, my professional life follows the school year. This summer, I worked part-time and enjoyed a switch in my day-to-day. Making the transition back to full-time work, I want to find ways to remember the last of summer. Despite the temperatures, I will be…

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Swimming Into. . .Being

Swimming Into Being

This morning I woke up, a bit lethargic, but still happy to greet the day. Slow moving, but willing, I exchanged pajamas for a swimsuit, shorts, and t-shirt and grabbed keys, wallet, a towel, sunglasses, and the little plastic box that holds my swim cap and goggles. I headed to the pool where I have made a second home this summer. In the locker room, I rinsed off, shivering in the cold shower. I flip-flopped out to the pool and tossed my belongings into a lawn chair poolside. Down to my swimsuit, I sat on the edge of the concrete, legs swirling aimlessly in the water, while I tucked my short brown hair into the blue swim cap and snapped on my goggles. Then I slipped into the vivid aqua and began the quiet and contemplative 1200 yards. There is something meditative and monotonous about swimming. I had a whole lane to myself, so I did not even have to calculate my swim speed or be concerned with switching sides of a lane. I just swam. I just was. I was swimming into life, the water cloaking me.

A little over two months ago, 25 yards felt difficult, and now I can swim 48 times that distance comfortably, confident enough in my strokes and ability to get there. To swim is to glide through water. It feels weightless and freeing. Once I get in the water, it is just me. Sometimes I count, sometimes I pray. Mostly, though, I concentrate on moving. The goggles, the water, the swim cap, even my tank suit, envelop me into another world, a different existence.

When I started this blog, almost four years ago, I was eager to reclaim part of my self. I was eager to do and to be. I was eager to run and learn, instead of sit and atrophy. Time flies and a few things have changed. I am writing more. I am running more. I am living more. I am doing more. I am swimming. Some lessons, though, still elude me. I also know that the things I do and know, do not end. It is a constant process: living and learning and doing. That process is much like swimming.

I move from the crawl to the backstroke to the breaststroke. I swim 400 yards of each in a 25 yard lane. Back and forth. Back and forth. This indoor swimming pool, where I have made my summer home, always seems to be the perfect-just-right-Goldilocks temperature. The pool manager has the chemical balance figured out, because there is no piercing or burning scent of chlorine in the air. Sometimes there are other lap swimmers, sometimes there are pool walkers. In the evenings, there is an exercise class that meets in the rounded shallow recreation end of the pool. I stick to the straight lane end. I move from wall to wall, sometimes pausing for breath. Sometimes I stop to adjust my goggles or to check the time on the wall, but mostly I just touch the wall, turn around, and begin again.

Today, I prayed and thought about life in the present. I felt the joy and bliss of doing work. I saw myself writing. I saw myself running. I saw myself perhaps finally over a crush that has threatened to crush me lately. I saw myself meditating. I saw myself learning. I saw myself letting go.  I saw myself with more patience. I saw myself fully living. I saw myself free.

I saw myself swimming, deep in bliss. I saw myself swimming back and forth. I saw myself right where I am. Swimming. . .into life. Swimming into being.


In honor of his birthday, a quote from Wendell Berry

“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
― Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community: Eight Essays




Possibility“I dwell in possibility”–Emily Dickinson

Possibility. . .
The word rings with magic. This is what possibility feels like for me. What are your possibilities?

Of an early morning when you wake up before the alarm

Before a run when your legs are limber and your lungs are fresh

When someone you have started flirting with calls you on the phone

When stepping into the library to browse for books

The smell of rain as the clouds gather and begin to let out their blessings

The moment when eyes close and voices go quiet at the beginning of communal prayer

When you walk out of a movie theater, reality altered

Running back to the car after a thunderstorm-filled hike

In the middle of chapter three and you are glad there are still 300 more pages

Reciting a favorite poem

Receiving a letter in the mail

The whistle of the tea pot, mug and tea leaves at the ready

When the night truly becomes dark and you can begin to see the stars

Pulling out the bulky wool sweater on the first fall day

Putting the last of the laundry on the line on a sunny afternoon

Car packed, gas tank full, map unfolded

The beginning of a love letter you are going to write, “Dear. . .”

Realizing a solo life is pretty amazing

The last box taped, the last furniture hauled, and the clang of the moving truck door closing

A new set of keys to a home

The dusty box of family mementos, finding a picture of your parents you have never seen

Vegetables assembled on a cutting board with knife, ready to make soup

A bottle of wine and two glasses, anxiously waiting for the second party to arrive

A twirly black dress, red toenails, and a woman feeling beautiful

A baby held in arms, the quiet sigh and sound of sweet slumber

The first whispered “I love you.”

The ping of an instant message from a best friend, halfway around the world

Friday afternoon on an empty playground

A full backpack and hiking boots waiting by the door for the next morning’s adventure

The first bud in the spring

The smell of lilacs

Earthworms emerging after a long wet rain

The first ride without training wheels

When tears turn to laughter

Pulling on cowboy boots, anticipating the two-step

Friends coming to visit

The naked plunge into a cold lake

Staying up all night talking

The hushed goodbye on a conversation you do not want to end

Butterflies in the stomach before a race, a reading

The second grader who hugs you as you say goodbye

The first sour bite of a fall apple, just picked off the tree

The crack of the spine of a new composition notebook

The feeling when time evaporates into a second

The hush when bad news is not as bad as anticipated

The splash after a puddle has been depleted by a big jump

Running until you can run no farther

Getting up from the desk after writing for hours

When someone shares a secret

The first pop of a piece of pink bubble gum

The honk of Canada Geese

The whisper of leaves in an aspen grove

A perfectly sharpened pencil

Scraps of fabric laid out for the beginnings of a quilt

An old juke box in a dive bar

Singing along to a favorite song by your favorite band at a concert

Getting over a crush and feeling joy, not jealousy, at your crush’s new love

Getting back in touch with an old friend

The beginning of a small town parade

The nervousness and risk of pursuing a dream

Planning a vacation itinerary, even when you know you can not afford to go for some time

The first deposit into a savings account

The last payment of a debt

The smell of an old antique store

Watching the sun rise and watching the sun set in the same day

A day and night with no electronic gadgets

The feeling of chopping the last piece of wood and being ready for winter

Kneading dough

Repotting plants in terra cotta pots

Cutting an aloe leaf and soothing a burn

Making someone’s favorite dessert

Fresh bread with melted butter

Getting on the train

Packing a trunk

The shudder of aluminum dropped in a bin for recycling

Giving two weeks’ notice to start a new dream

Chile roasting in fall

When your loved ones are happy

Getting a healthy report from your doctor

Losing 25 pounds

Reaching for and grasping a hand that was reaching for yours

Thinking of all the possibilities