Quote No.45 from Encourage Yourself Encourage Others by Anne Devine.
Our beautiful weather of the past few weeks was such a blessing. We enjoyed many meals outdoors. The best temperature we noted was around 18 degrees, as nice as an average summer’s day. But that weather has changed to much cooler, 7 to 12 degrees and showery. There is a feel of winter back in it again. I’m challenging myself to find the positives in it, such as the freshness of the air after a heavy shower.
What positives are you noticing about today’s weather where you are?
Today I’m taking a minute to savor the feeling of warm summer air on my skin. Have you ever paid attention to what warm air feels like on your skin?
We are having temperatures that are way higher than average for this time of year. We’ve had some days reach 30 degrees. This is our hottest summer in 100 years. I don’t think I can ever remember wearing summer clothes for so long. This is so out of the ordinary for Ireland. Our summer’s are usually a few days of sunshine mixed with cooler rainy days. A blue sky without rain-clouds is a rare sight! I can’t remember ever feeling our house so warm indoors, from early morning to last thing at night. Our windows and doors are flung open trying to generate a draught. Cooking over a hot cooker is a big no-no! I’ve never eaten so many light, healthy salads. We are eating breakfast and supper outdoors and it’s even too warm to eat dinner outside, we have to eat inside.
The warm air feels so healthy on my bare arms, my freckles are multiplying and I can’t stop looking up at the bright, cloudless blue sky thinking “Shur i have Spain at home!” I feel carefree!
Recently while on holiday, I practiced my ‘Just One Minute Monday’ as we walked to the shops for our groceries. My son and his girlfriend were walking in front of me, the shops were a ten minute walk each way. The average temperature from 10am to 8pm was 30 degrees. It wasn’t an easy walk in that heat. I’m not into counting steps and I don’t own a step counter but lots of people exercise now by counting their steps and increasing the number of steps they take daily.
I thought about the amount we walk everyday and particularly the pace we have become accustomed to.
I wondered how often do we actually slow down our steps? Have you ever even noticed how fast you walk? Do you constantly rush from one task to the next? Because I was on holiday I paused and focused on my steps. I slowed down my steps. I noticed the inclines and the declines.
I listened to the sound our steps made. I felt my heart rate slow its pace. I felt grateful for those moments, those steps I was able to enjoy in the company of two young adults.
When have you last paid attention to how fast you walk? Have you ever deliberately focused on your steps? Maybe today is the day to focus one minute on your footsteps.
When I was young and in a moaning mood (which was very rare!), my Nana would look gently at me and say “whist, don’t be complaining, shur you have Spain at home!”
Of course I wouldn’t be impressed as I knew that my self-pity was not going to be entertained! But as I grew up, I knew Nana meant count your blessings, be grateful for what you have and appreciate every bit of it! And she was so right! I’m so thankful to have had the benefit of her shared wisdom by growing up in a three generational home.
I’m feeling very privileged to be enjoying a week in Spain, soaking up the splendid sunshine, (which can be sporadic in Ireland), getting time for the simple pleasures and realising that during the other 51 weeks of the year “shur I have Spain at home.”
And in the middle of all this beauty and relaxation I’m taking one minute to be really grateful and mindful of this beautiful weather. It has been a long winter and a sunny day lifts everybody’s spirit! It’s heart-warming to hear conversations and laughter blowing on the breeze and to see families spending time together, outdoors, soaking up the sun, building sand castles and swimming or surfing in the sea. It also brings back many fond memories of holidays spent on the beach with our two children when they were young.
Something struck me in the past week and I just have to put pen to paper as I consider its implications…It came to mind because Ireland has had a substantial snowfall for the first time in years. We were alerted to the upcoming ‘Storm Emma’ thanks to the excellent work of Met Eireann and their Status Red weather alert.
People were advised to stay indoors and we found ourselves snowed in for a few days.
On the 1st of March, the first day of the snow, a radio station played Christmas songs all day long and we sang along. We had a full Christmas dinner – my first Christmas dinner in March! We sat and talked. We went for a country walk. We played Scrabble. It was lovely… it was bonus family time… or so I thought!
Since then I have spoken to quite a few people and I have been… well, I’ll admit it… shocked with the response I’ve got.
When I asked how they found/got through the snow days the invariable response was “Oh I had cabin fever” or “I couldn’t wait to get back to work” or “I never realised getting out shopping to the supermarket was such a luxury” or “We ran out of things to talk about.”
I started to question myself! Am I strange in that I enjoyed so much down time? Am I unusual, being content at home spending time with my family?
Has a psychosocial expectation taken us over? Has it become the norm to have to be busy all the time? Is it important to be seen to be rushing about and time strapped? Has consumerism sucked everybody in to the extent that we can’t avoid the shops for more than a day or two? Have we lost the skills of conversation? Have we lost the ability to be still? to just ‘be?’
Please feel free to share your opinions with me, help me broaden my perspective!
Our daughter is called Emma and I have learned a lot from being a parent to her and her brother. Likewise the recent Storm ‘Emma’ which saw us trapped; although thankfully forewarned by MET Eireann, in our home for three days has also taught me a lot. It thought me how time is relative. It taught me that if I slow down, time slows down. It taught me how to Savor time…let me try to explain.
How often do you stop when you are cooking and savor the dish you are preparing? If you are anything like me, you probably stop at each stage of the cooking process. You wonder if the dish is good enough. You take time to sample it and you consider the taste. You ask yourself is it tasty enough? You wonder can you enhance its flavour a little more?
Similarly I believe, if we pause at any given moment in our day and apply the same strategy we can sample and really taste the beauty of that moment! Better still we have the power within us, to enhance the beauty of our moment, our lunch time, our day.
Create space in your life and make this moment ‘your’ moment. Pause and sample this moment in time. Let everything else wait…. just breathe… just be… listen to everything and everyone around you. Be still… be aware of yourself; breathing, sensing, existing, thriving in this very moment. Notice time slowing down; pausing with you.
Stay with the moment and watch yourself living in ‘your’ moment, as if you were a kindly friend looking on, observing. Acknowledge with gratefulness your presence in ‘your’ moment. Appreciate your place in the beauty of ‘your’ moment…savor its stillness. Promise to visit and sample ‘your’ moment again soon… it will get easier… now with renewed spirit and a sense of childlike wonder return to the job in hand!
What will you sample today? What moment will you call ‘your’ moment?