Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Note: this post part of Reverb 10: reflect on 2010, manifest what's next. Click here for more info.

Prompt: Appreciate. What's the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Thanks, Victoria Klein)

Over the summer, when it looked as if our long-awaited road trip was going to fall through, my friend Lori suggested that I pull out a picture of the Rockies, put it on a table in a quiet place, and meditate. Visualize yourself in Colorado, she said.

I’m not sure if following her advice had anything to do with our change of fortune, but meditating did remind me of how much I missed quiet. And I don’t mean dead silence, because when you are quiet, when you find a way to separate yourself from the noise—physical and psychological—of the washing machine, the kids bickering, the sirens on Route 10, then other, more natural, more welcome noises make their way in. In the summer, the crickets and the frogs (whose noise became somewhat unwelcome, I have to admit, after they started reproducing in our kiddie pool) provided the background music for my evening meditation.

Now that it’s cold, it’s the noises of the house that permeate, and these, after a certain hour, are no less pleasing: Sasha snoring; Bryan playing guitar; “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” playing in Lexi’s room.

Sometimes, I sit at my “meditation table” for only two or three minutes, but it’s enough. Last Christmas, Bryan gave me a chime, and when I hit it lightly with the mallot, the effect is Pavlovian. My shoulders release their tension, my breath comes more slowly, my muscles relax.

The picture of the Rockies remains, along with rocks collected on our trip. Sitting or kneeling at my little table has become a nightly ritual, and I will show gratitude for my evening moments of quiet by continuing the practice in 2011.

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