What do you see?

How do you like to start your day? Whenever possible, I love to spend the morning on the greenway.

One sunny morning this week, I had my eight-year-old with me on her bike and my one-year-old in the jogging stroller.  No doubt, my eight-year-old on her bike was moving much more quickly down the trail than I was pushing a jogging stroller.

I see her stop ahead and she’s looking out on the water as though she sees something. We have frequently spotted wildlife like ducks, geese, herons, and turtles along our greenway that runs alongside the Roanoke River.

“Hey, V! What do you see out there?” I call.

As I approach and have a closer look, my eight-year-old is serene and smiling as she is gazing out on the water. 

“Nothing, Mom. I just love the way it looks when the sun sparkles on the river.”

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I pause and take it in too. The river is glistening and sparkling like gold. It really is a sight to witness.

It is moments like these that I am grateful to be a parent. I am thankful for the privilege of seeing the world through my kids’ eyes…full of wonder, awe, and curiosity in the ordinary. With a mindful lens, the ordinary transforms into extraordinary.

To me, this is the essence of mindful living – to notice in the most sincere and intentional way. It is noticing our present surroundings, our present experience, and to marvel at the qualities we observe. To live mindfully is a quality of living.  It is more than just existing in the present, although that is important too. It is our approach to living in the present, and our willingness to observe with curiosity what we find there.  

I am fortunate to have three miniature reminders of how to live this way.  They run exuberantly around my house and in my yard, noticing life with wonder and excitement. Children are our best mindfulness teachers, if we allow them.

Take in your surroundings today – the quality, the texture, the experience of what is present. 

What do you see?