May 17, 2022
I woke up this morning to the sound of the rain falling. The window by my bed was open and I could feel the fresh morning air as I tuned into the sound. I was warm and cozy and our dog, Billie Rose, jumped up and laid down between my husband and I. She and I were lying back to back with our spines touching. She went back to sleep as she patiently waited for me to get up. On this morning I was in no hurry. I kept my eyes closed and the sound of the rain was my focus. I listened. My mind wandered to how cozy I felt, to my breathing, to the thought that I should get up and get going. But I kept returning to listening. I could hear birds in the distance. Our cat was in the kitchen meowing loudly, calling for food. I kept returning to the sound of the rain. It was soft and gentle, and then it got a little louder. The dog rolled onto her back and groaned, letting me know she was ready for breakfast and a walk. I notice, and I return to listening. I heard cars in the distance as neighbours were heading out to work. The rain was getting softer and softer. Soon it will end. I kept listening. My mind wandered to this article and what I would write. Why didn’t I write it yesterday??? Why do I leave it to the last minute? My harsh critical judging mind showed up and I noticed it. There is this critical part of myself, and there is the sound of the rain. I go back to the rain as an anchor for this present moment. I was taking a few minutes to be quiet and settled before I burst into my day that will be very full. My mind, body and heart feel calm listening to the rain. It’s a great way to start my day. I just got home from a silent meditation and yoga retreat and after 8 days of not talking I am quiet. The gift of slowing down, of silence, and of a lot of stillness is that I had time to really be with what was going on around me and in me. Lots of time to be fully awake to what is. I spent a lot of time walking and sitting in beautiful gardens, in a labyrinth, with so many trees. My days began watching the sun rise, and ended watching it set as the moon rose. Nature is calming, soothing, settling. I spent a lot of time watching bees buzzing from flower to flower. Frogs hopping in the ponds. So many birds and butterflies were around me. It is a gift to really experience and appreciate all of this life that is around us. I went to this retreat centre for my first retreat over 30 years ago and I realized on this past week that yoga, meditation, qigong, quiet sitting, mindful walking, and practicing being present are tools that I am committed to for the long haul. They have accompanied me through my days as a wife, mother, daughter, teacher, volunteer, friend, sister, aunt and as a person who cares about the well being of the whole planet. I am kinder and more grateful because of the quiet and stillness and the connection to nature.