Today is September 11, 2012. We can’t help take pause and remember where we were on this day eleven years ago. My beloved step-daughter was given an assignment to interview her daddy and me about what we were doing and feeling on September 11, 2001. We sat at the table on our back deck last night after dinner together; she with her spiral notebook and pencil. As she asked open ended interview questions assigned to her, I was deeply touched by the compassion in her eyes as she listened intently and took notes while her daddy and I shared our stories of where we were and what we felt eleven years ago.
There is nothing like sitting with a twelve year old child who was too young to remember that somber day in history and share with her our remembering. Not only did it bring forth the emotion that we will always carry as we reflect on how the tragic events of that day affected us and how they have shaped our world as we know it, but this process of recalling also marks the time of our own personal history.
The practice of mindfulness encourages us to be present. So, how does intentionally reflecting and recalling significant history fit in with mindfulness practice?
I named this group of writings “Gentle Observations” purposefully. When embracing the practice of mindfulness as a way of life and way of coping with challenges in life, we can not ignore or suppress factual events that have occurred and contributed to our present experience. We can, however, look upon history with a gentle examination while avoiding becoming bogged down in the past. We can, revisit events and emotions evoked by the remembering without allowing ourselves to become consumed. The practice of mindfulness is actually most often about the returning to the present moment after gentle observation of thoughts, feelings, sensations.
As my husband and I sat with our daughter last night and reflected on where we were, what we did, how we felt eleven years ago, there was a natural pivot to realizing how much has changed and how far we’ve come as individuals, as a couple and as a family since then. We were brought back to this present day, this present moment and realized how every event, no matter how tragic, no matter how difficult -globally or personally – has contributed to all the wonder of this current life.
So, on this day that marks history for our world, our country and our personal lives, may a gentle remembering, an honoring of all those who suffered and lost be also a pivotal reminder of where we are here and now with gratitude for all that is.
Lynn Louise Wonders