I'm usually the first to go upstairs at night in our home. Once in our bedroom, I close our blinds and, as I do, gaze at the picture collages of my wife and daughters - it's a few seconds of gratitude and happiness as I end the day.
I love the big moments we celebrate, like graduations, new jobs, and athletic accomplishments, to name a few. These are our social feed moments, and when I was younger, I thought these would lead to happiness.
And they did...for a moment.
Over time, I discovered that the weft threads of our tapestry are the small moments that wake us up to life.
As we approached Memorial Day in the States, I decided to share 100 Mindful Everyday Moments (see the complete list here) this summer to bring more awareness to my life and take on the challenge of writing daily even if no one would read a single post. I also hoped that it would inspire others to see their everyday moments differently and, as my friend Bobby would say, "Behold the ordinary."
The former was helpful because I often wondered if anyone was reading this series, as ten percent of my email list unsubscribed. Some days, I made mistakes, delivered a nothing-burger, and goofed up - like life, I was perfectly imperfect.
The series helped me appreciate life even more than usual, and I am a grateful guy. I had no idea what I would share when I woke each day. That said, I was confident that something would bubble up because life is amazing when you pay attention to it and refreshing when you approach it with unknowing curiosity and the willingness to pause when an everyday moment presents itself.
These moments were "normal," like the smell of petrichor or how my senses came alive before the first sip of my latte. Of course, not every moment was rainbows and unicorns. Some were challenging and lasted longer than I desired, and that's life.
As Richard Rohr, Franciscan friar and ecumenical teacher, once wrote, "Most of us just repeat the same routines every day, and we're upset if there are any interruptions to our patterns. Yet God is invariably and ironically found in the interruptions, the discontinuities, the exceptions, the surprises—and seldom in the patterns. God has to catch us literally "off guard"!
The value of a contemplative practice like mindfulness and gratitude is how it helps us connect with ourselves, which allows us to appreciate these everyday micro-miracles. It's about slowing down, sitting in silence, and interrupting the routines so we see the wonder embedded in our seemingly mundane moments.
The world and the economy try to do all they can to distract us. They want us to keep spinning faster and faster on our hamster wheels. They scream for our attention, so this idea is no simple feat.
But your future self is inviting you to do so. It wants to savor life, rest in its wonder, and appreciate the moments between your moments that create small ripples that one day lead to big things. It's not easy, but you can't do hard things. Plus, we're on this journey together.
This week is International Mindfulness Week. To celebrate, I'm giving away free and full access to my meditation and gratitude app to help you bring mindfulness to your everyday moments and navigate the rest of the year with grace. It's a moment to begin a practice that will change your life, but like all moments, this opportunity doesn't last forever.
You can access this gift via www.mindfulnessweek.org and share it with your friends, family, and colleagues.