We’re getting up later these days. Six-thirty doesn’t seem late when the light begins seeping through the shades a full half an hour before that.
He swings his feet out of bed and heads for the shower. He takes his phone in there with him and streams NPR while he gets ready.
That evening I suggest to him, “Maybe if you didn’t listen to news in the morning, your mind would be clearer and you might not feel so, well, crazy and rushed.”
Normally he takes a suggestion like mine and sweeps it away in the wild-wife-talk file to never think about again. Because, what do I know? But he cocks his head to the side and says, “Maybe you’re right.”
The next morning when he takes a shower, I am still asleep. But I wake up to the sounds of violins coming from our shared bathroom. He’s decided to listen to classical music during his morning routine.
When he comes out of the shower, toweling off his head he smiles at me. “I took your advice.”
He’s made room in his mind to think about the day, to prepare himself for what is coming up and to just breathe. Just like anything from fish to our own skin, our minds need room to breathe.
This afternoon I walk to the backyard with intention. I leave my phone, my audio book, my magazine, books, catalogs, even my music inside.
And I lie down and close my eyes.
It takes discipline because I am not tired and I do not want to sleep. I want to give my mind room to breathe.
When is the last time I counted the planes flying over head? We live in the flight path and they fly north to south by me. From our north fence to the top of the house, I trace the paths as the jets go by.
And then the fall happens: I forget I’m lying down and my heart and soul begin to wander in the sweetest of ways. I think of board games and plane trips to San Francisco and why my dog itches the back of her head with her back paw. I think of my oldest daughter and the woman that she is and my little person and her grin.
It is so quiet.
I lament the lack of summer green where I live, but then I think that we have the most blues and golds you would ever want to see. California really is golden sometimes, I think.
And there are birds and an occasional car in the front but for the most part there is quiet. The girls are inside quietly playing or watching television or drawing and I’m well, meditating I guess. I’m not praying but I’m not not praying either and instead of the constant news and words floating through my head, there is music.
I watch the outdoor clock and I want so badly to make it to 45 minutes. I am not sure why, but for some reason 45 seems like a good stopping point. It’s 3:33 and the clock isn’t moving. Not one little bit.
I open my eyes again and it’s still 3:33 and then it all floods me and I get it.
They say that when our children are small the days are long but the years are short. It means that time moves oh so very quickly but it doesn’t feel like it in the moment. But I think that it does feel like it in the moment. Each day seems like it speeds downhill from breakfast to bedtime with television shows and dance and books and scooter rides in between. And it all seems so fast.
But outside, it didn’t. Outside it was slow because I was watching. I was paying attention.
The only way to make life slow down is to watch life carefully and the only way to watch is to give your mind room to breathe.
When we put down all the stuff that clogs our minds and stops up our brains, we let ourselves breathe a bit. We let our hearts do what they did when we were kids on road trips: we look out the window and dream, we breathe in and let the wandering air fill our lungs.
And then life moves oh so slowly.