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I would guess our bookshelves rival the Jeopardy question writers’ resource library, if there is such a thing.

We’ve got quite the philosophile (is that a word?) on our hands. My husband has amassed quite the book collection over the years. Our home library features Christian and Jewish texts and commentaries, political writings, books and anthologies from the big-name philosophers, eastern thought…I could go on.

Also found in the mix: backcountry survival books, chess, backgammon and Texas Hold-em strategy, my shelf of gardening, parenting and natural health books, and few but treasured works of fiction.

One of the things I admire most about that man is his love for learning.

As one might expect, my husband has a handful of Buddhist books. He recently started practicing mindfulness – to bring calm and focus to his work, to turn down the noise and amplify his experience of the world.

I know I, for one, could work on my mindfulness. I forget things I haven’t written in My Essential Purple Notebook, I don’t notice the spilled sippy cup on the floor until I’ve stepped in it. Just last week, I left a bag of groceries at the store. And again yesterday.

Aside: I should mention that I don’t identify as a Buddhist. My understanding (and I may be missing the mark but I have limited exposure to it) is that it’s not a deistic or worshipping practice, and that it’s compatible with many belief systems. It’s more how you experience the world. I can get behind that.

If I’m missing the essentials, I’m surely missing out on life’s small, simple pleasures just because they’re not on my radar.

I’m ready to turn the volume down, and as a result, up.

So, I’ve decided to give this mindfulness thing a try. I want to be fully present for my children. Instead of just trying to stop the “Mommy Mommy Mommy,” I want their calls to snap me awake, so to speak, and bring me to a moment where I’ll truly connect with them. I want to taste the warmth and comfort of a cup of tea. How long has it been since I experienced the beauty of a snowfall as I did when it meant snow forts and hot cocoa?

I imagine sitting down and giving undivided attention to every bit of food and every mouthful of tea and every falling leaf is easy peasy for a monk in a monastery. But I have a pile of laundry that can’t seem to stop calling me, the mailman makes my dog bark, and my toddler recently discovered that standing on elevated surfaces is fun. The kids have my attention on lockdown most of the time, and it’s been a while since I’ve formed a complete thought before 8:00 p.m.

No complaints, I’ll just work with what I have.

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