As a child my parents took us on lots of long car journeys. We lived several hours away from my grandmother, and whenever we wanted to visit her my parents would pack the car and my brother and me, and off we would go. I spent a lot of time listening to a Sony Walkman (for younger readers, it’s a sort of MP3 player!) and staring out the window. One thing that really stands out in my mind is a memory of watching raindrops travelling down the windowpane.
So today’s post is a request to myself and to others that we all spend a few moments sitting and watching those raindrops. How many raindrops have fallen, and we have missed them, because we are rushing around buying presents, wrapping presents, writing cards…? How much of our days have we spent absorbed in our own thoughts, some of them distressing and unhappy? How many of us have had our share of joys and sorrows in 2011 and wonder what 2012 will bring? When things are difficult, stressful and unhappy I recommend an escape to a wet window pane for a moment of peace.
It sounds so simplistic. And though it is simple, simplistic it is not. Sitting and watching raindrops is important work. To tap into our creativity, we need certain conditions– a relaxed mind is one of them. To feel centred and well we need those moments of thinking of nothing else but the simple path that a raindrop follows. It doesn’t seem like work, but I would call it “worthy work” because those quiet, gentle moments give us a chance to take a breather from all that life throws at us and to take a step on the journey inward.
We all need time to simply be. The signs that we are running on empty are clear: we get a cold, feel fatigued or short-tempered, everything comes out of perspective, and our minds feel full of so many things that we simply can’t keep up. The body, mind and spirit are desperate for tranquility and we wonder when we will ever get it. “Once Christmas comes, everything will be fine,” we say. Or, “once the children break up from school we will finally be able to rest.” (That’s the one I have been saying for weeks!) But rest and tranquillity are available to us every day, in every moment. A breath, the beauty of a flock of sparrows having a bath in a puddle, the smile and hello from a stranger, a raindrop rolling down the windowpane… all of these are opportunities– a call, if you like, to be here in the present moment, to shut the door on all that is pulling us into the future or into the past.
My children give me a golden opportunity to exit the world of my thoughts and be present to this moment. On the way home from school, as I found myself thinking about the same situation over and over again, I meditated on my child: the soft touch of his small hand in mine, the sight of the wind blowing through his inexplicably yellow fluffy hair, the sound of his high-pitched, earnest voice as he pointed out the usual landmarks (tree! bird! doggie!) and his small feet tapped the earth as he ran. The soft, cozy feeling of watching raindrops fall came back to me as I slowed down and noticed all that was around me and the beauty that stares me in the face every day, which I am often too busy to notice. There is a whole world beyond the windowpane, but sometimes slowing down enough to watch those raindrops makes everything clearer.