Will you take 60 seconds today *just for yourself*?
Aloha! Years ago, when I lived in Upstate New York, I liked to relax by visiting a small park on Lake Ontario. Where a little creek flowed into the lake, I’d look for a leaf. I’d follow that leaf as it meandered along. For just a moment, my mind did nothing but watch the leaf. No judgment. No opinion. No agenda. No schedule. Just immersing myself in the journey of the lazy leaf. Soon, the leaf would disappear from my sight, into the vast expanse of Lake Ontario.
But what would stay with me is the quiet mind moment I created. Even today, when I seek a moment of calm, particularly amid a hectic day, I often think back on that lazy leaf — and how nature keeps moving along, with nothing required of me.
Some would call that process meditation; others, mindfulness or renewal. The word itself doesn’t matter; what does matter is recognizing the value in quieting one’s mind.
People find such mini-renewal moments everywhere: Watching ocean waves roll in and roll out. Gazing at the shimmering of leaves in the wind. Drinking in the night sky. Listening to music or the rain. Dancing. Meditating on the sound of birds outside the window. Surely you have a few favorites.
Of course, you’ve heard all this before. Multiple studies have demonstrated the physical, emotional and cognitive benefits of paying attention. Recently, we’ve been urged to consider teaching mindfulness to our students.
But rather than send you to a website right now or list those benefits, I’m going to encourage you to devote this moment — 60 seconds right now — to yourself, to quieting your own mind and sitting with that experience. This minute is about you — not your students, not your professional development plan, not your own children or significant other. Just you.
Simply close your eyes and feel your breath. In and out. In and out. Locate the part of your body that contains your breath, and feel that place.
Keep breathing. If your mind drifts, bring it gently back to your breath.
Keep breathing. In and out. In and out.
Just one more moment of quiet — and now you’re done.
What did that feel like? What would happen if you did that for yourself once a day? Or even twice a day?
In a future issue of Musings, we’ll discuss in greater depth the benefits of mindfulness and renewal, particularly for those of us so committed to the well-being of others. As always, I’ll be interested in your comments and experiences.
But right now we’re still on vacation. Just for today, please find 60 seconds of sacred, quiet-mind time — all for yourself, with nothing to do but notice your breath. Will you do that?
— Mutiu O. Fagbayi