Wandering wondering mind

The start to the new year can be emotional – coming off the high of being the magic makers for our families while pushing off the sadness of missing loved ones who still occupy our hearts from beyond. While on a daily walk, I realized it was the first time that I could actually appreciate the time and space for my mind to simply enjoy wandering. In a culture that tends to overschedule and keep busy as a badge of honor, perhaps we might consider the necessary indulgence of giving ourselves permission for our minds to wander. 

What is mind wandering? Similar to daydreaming, it’s letting our thoughts that have nothing to do with the immediate environment or task at hand, pop in and out. Mind wandering can be related to mindfulness in that we can incorporate mindful thoughts to lessen our anxieties. We can try positive affirmations or light calming strategies to help reduce stress.

For example: 

  • As I breathe in, thank you for this walk this morning. 

  • As I look up at a clear blue sky, I feel the sunshine and brisk breeze as they refresh my spirit.

  • Breathe in love, breathe out hope. 

Mind wandering can help us solve problems, enhance our creativity and perhaps support us in finding the meaning of life. 

Let’s talk about gratitude

Always so much talk about gratitude. Yes, let’s be thankful for the simplest things in our lives. That mug of morning coffee. That evening cocktail. The unsolicited tight embrace and “I love you” from our partner or child that we needed in that moment. Or even when we are engaged in the necessary tasks of domestic work such as dishwashing or cleaning bathrooms, we can be grateful for our home where we make our lives. Gratitude is a serious business, perhaps the one that might keep our communities supportive and stimulating. Insgead of relying primarily on a market economy, might we consider a gift economy

I recently stumbled upon this reframing during my most recent read of Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change by Angela Garbes. She references Mother/Scientist/Professor Dr. Robin Kimmerer's idea that we should operate from a fundamental belief in abundance grounded in the currency of gratitude:

The currency in a gift economy is relationship, which is expressed as gratitude, as interdependence and the ongoing cycles of reciprocity. A gift economy nurtures the community bonds that enhance mutual well-being; the economic unit is “we” rather than “I,” as all flourishing is mutual.

We try to teach our families about gratitude starting at a young age. Maybe it’s a chat about kindness, compliments or general positivity around humans, our natural surroundings and towards ourselves. This practice of mutual responsibility asks us to change our worldview and practice in that we are participants in each other’s well-being. Buying into the gift economy with gratitude as currency leaves us happier.

What about the gift we give ourselves so that we can restore and replenish? Ah, sleep! We owe it to ourselves to consider our personal wellness and rest our minds with sleep. The attention we gift ourselves can be an act of radical love. The everyday miracle of sleep invites us to nourish our physical bodies in a way that complements our wandering minds when opportunity arises in the thrash of it all – when we mother, father, parent, engage, lead and follow, do things well, make mistakes and get on with our day-to-day.  Our personal growth along with those in our families and circles depends on loving acts of attention as we continue to show up for each other most humbly with curiosity, gratitude, wandering minds and centeredness. 

a perfect moment when i wonder,

search up the naked canopies for nothing in particular

what if, i worry, what will happen when?

what’s our plan?

the january freeze smacks me,

i take a deep breath . . . and sigh out . . .

if i could, oh! a thought inspires me

motivates me

just as my four-legged walking pal keenly eyes two foxes hidden in the woodgrounds in a tussle 


All that glitters is tinsel

let loose the tinsel
that shimmers and shines
nostalgic sadness
and perfect moments
find themselves at home
during the holiday

stroll the snowy paths of anticipation
the unspoken frosted ponds of sorrow
winter waves of wistfulness churn
as the ocean breeze howls along
with the wild yet peaceful wolf 
as we breathe alongside her
in her sanctuary

all that glitters is tinsel
let our breath sparkle in healing too
for that will free us 

lakota wolf preserve 12.30.22
[holiday adventure]


Holiday magic

The holidays manage to spark fireworks of memories. On this winter solstice, I think of the vintage faux fur hat that includes a band around the brim and a feather tucked in, the back partly folded that my Dad used to don with his heavy beige felt coat trimmed with faux fur too -- real slick for the 1970s. 

We especially miss those who are beyond the stars this time of year. Every night as I walk our dog before bedtime, I ritually look up and drink in the sky's twinkled cocktail on the off chance I catch a shooting star (it has happened before!). Nothing else exists in that breath except a moment of stillness . . . my attempt to keep that little place where magic grows . . . alive.

Magic awakes in a long awaited get together with mom friends for holiday tea and treats along with a belated birthday surprise! Deeply touched by their generous gesture of celebration, I'm once again reminded of Life's gems in the circle of friends that we treasure and count among our blessings. 
Just what my heart needed as I've been missing my Dad.

My wish for you this solstice:
 May you feel everyday magic and experience joy no matter what's going on around you.