12 January 13 • MAV

Here are two meaningful things I’ve written down in my notebook since the start of the new year:

“What happens if this happens?”
—Miles, my nephew (speaking as he mixed one dot of paint color with another)

“We’re every one of us imperfect. We’re every one of us, in some way, wounded animals. The most important thing is to take care of each other.”
Barry Lopez, a writer

I’ve been thinking a lot since the year turned over about how we humans effect each other. We share space with perfect strangers as we walk the planet and we can be so careless about it (honking our horns, given sneering looks, gasping heavy sighs in long lines at the grocery). Sometimes we are even careless when we share time and space with those we love. We can’t help it; we’re human.

While I can’t be perfect and present in every moment of every day, I want to spend a little time as the year starts thinking about how to be a better more engaged human.

Here is my new meditation exercise for January:
I sit for 5 minutes each day (whenever I can find the time: morning, noon or night) and say the names of those for whom I am grateful. I sit, close my eyes, breathe in deeply and just say the name in my head. I think of that person, what they mean to me and what I mean to them. I think of how we are connected and how we can be better connected. I may only get through two people in the 5 minutes but regardless I open my eyes and feel my head is much clearer. My thoughts are quieter. I feel more grounded and ready to be an engaged human again.

My oldest nephew Miles and I painted our own solar system yesterday (you can see our work here in these photographs). We painted Mars and Jupiter, the Sun and the Earth. We also painted comets and meteors.

As I looked at our small solar system when it was complete I was struck with how simple it looked, how beautiful, and I realized that I now have a place to envision when I do my next meditation. A quiet and colorful place where I can sit amongst our planets and our sun and feel grateful for my life and those who are in it. Happy New Year to you all! I am so grateful to be here in our space once again.