Mindfulness: Good Morning

On  the night of December 31st, all of us gather round tables of hour d'oeuvres in living rooms or stand stacked like sardines in New York City. We discuss how old we're becoming; we watch as friends' growing children try with might to keep their eyes open. We speak of our fondest memories: camping trips, visits home to family, that vacation we thought we'd never get to, the new friends we met randomly that one night, meals shared with favorite people. We remember our trials and tribulations - sometimes silently, and sometimes spoken of with great relief and sorrow: loved ones who have passed, embarrassing sexual encounters, financial problems. And we watch as the glittering ball makes its way slowly to an anticlimactic drop, signaling a new year's beginning. We kiss our neighbors, clink our glasses, and toast to the year to come. Possibilities and excitement surround us, and we embrace these potentials with fervor. So much can happen in a year.

The first week of January begins, and we all return to work and chores and our lives. We groggily wipe sleep from our eyes as we pour creamer into our coffee. We have conversations about the weather and our outfits. We do our jobs until we're allowed to clock out and return to our homes to cook supper with loved ones and listen to their own mediocre day's events. But so much can happen in a day. As a society, though we prefer to believe we encourage it, we're reluctant to change. Change is scary and new; there are limitless possibilities of what might happen if something in our daily schedule rifts and goes off course. The possibility of those changes being negative keeps us from seeking the changes that could lead our lives in exciting, positive directions. So many of us have become blinded by our current states that the opportunities awaiting us many times go unnoticed. So much can happen in a day.

Today, your heart will beat 100,000 times. Around 60 strands of hair will fall from your head and add to the collection of dust awaiting a broom. You'll laugh 15 times, but you may also cry. You'll speak nearly 50,000 words. 70-80,000 trees will be cut down to aid our lifestyle habits.  A billion gallons of water will rush down Niagara Falls. A mayfly will live the course of its entire life.

Today, a high school graduate will receive a letter in his mailbox that acknowledges his acceptance into his first choice school. A pregnant woman will go into labor and become a mother. A fed up employee will quit his 9-5 and set off on his dreams of owning a restaurant. A couple will decide to break things off. Another couple will say, "I do". A daughter will have to say goodbye to her sick father. Grief-stricken parents will bury their child. A teenage girl will fall in love as she watches her best friend do something extremely ordinary - like tie his shoe laces. A desperate recent graduate will do well on her interview and land the job. A middle-schooler will wake up and encounter his first-ever pimple on his face. A child will fall and scrape her knees. A group of friends singing pop songs on a leisurely drive will collide with another car and spin off the road. A bold woman will pack a modest bag, find her way to the airport, choose a destination, and never look back. A son will show up unknowingly to his parents' house to surprise them for the holidays. An otherwise respectable person will be arrested for peeing in public after having too much to drink at the local bar. Parents will get divorced, forcing their offspring to choose with whom they want to live. A humble musician will be recognized for his talents. An artist will be discovered, while another is criticized and forgotten. Friends fearing stagnancy will pack up their car and move cross-country to begin a new life. Acquaintances will meet for lunch and become friends. Allies will discover lies and disloyalties, catalyzing their falling-out. An otherwise healthy young woman will be informed by her physician that she's caught a nasty disease. A family will finish building their house while another will watch from their backyard as they lose their possessions to a fire. A late bloomer will have his first kiss. A father will teach his son how to fish. A mother will sit idly at the kitchen table staring at the empty chair her daughter used to inhabit before moving away to school. A deprived child will be adopted by nurturing parents. A 60-year-old man will finally discover his passion and retire. A runner will beat his time in the latest marathon, a baby will say her first words, and a youngster will learn to ride a bike.

Anything can happen today. We have to be ready to embrace it.

Good morning.