The word I chose to guide me through this year is “Mindfulness.” Although I didn’t know much about him, Pico Iyer is someone to read if you are interested in becoming more mindful in your daily life. He is an essayist and novelist, and is most widely known for his books on travel. But he is so much more than a travel writer. His travels are extensive and he has a global view of the world. He says of himself: “I am a multinational soul on a multinational globe…” and he shares his views in essays, novels, through TED Talks, and university lectures. But I would also call him a philosopher and a guide.
I love to read travel books, and this little volume on “going nowhere,” really spoke to me right now. The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere, caught my eye and turned out to be a real treasure for me because it is about being present in the NOW of our lives. I found that it was packed with wisdom and much needed perspective on what is really important in life.
“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
One of the most profound things I learned from the last three years of experiencing the pandemic plus my husband’s terminal cancer diagnosis was to be present in the moment. It was quite a beautiful experience, actually.
We were home for most of that time, hunkered down to avoid exposure to anything, and knowing that our time together was limited, we simply focused on each day. Each day was precious. Over time, that became our practice. We didn’t dwell on the future, although it was there, ever-present. We often said, “not today,” to that looming darkness. And memories of the past brought happiness and humor to the dailiness of our lives. Being able to live in the moment, with all that love and joy at simply being alive, was a precious gift that gives me strength now.
So, when I started to think about choosing a Word for 2023, “MINDFULNESS” seemed right. I very much want to continue being deeply in touch with the present moment. I want to continue to live my life with that level of awareness and appreciation for all the little things, because that’s what really matters. My other recent Words of the Year — hope, gratitude, cherish, and courage are all part of being mindful of how to live deeply each day filled with love and wonder and appreciation.