As I drove home, my eyes gravitated on a single hot air balloon in the sky. The blue and white streaked sky cradled the flicker of the golden sunset. I concentrated on what is in front of me. Light and darkness. Brilliance and dullness. Ordinary and striking.

There was a real chance that I could have missed this opportunity, but I made a conscious choice to pay attention. Learning the words, pay attention, helps create  a real chance of sinking into the present. It changes the way I view my entire world. Every second is a little more of a featured moment in my life. This is what I have paid attention to this week:

The way my daughter dangles her feet on the school bench. As soon as she sees my car pull up, she springs up, almost like she is intersecting with me for the first time and smiles as she jumps into her car seat. That single second shows how she looks at every moment as a new and fresh, excited about what may come next.

Listening to the Lumineers, Rihanna, Phillip Phillips in my car and singing the choruses to their songs in my loudest off-key voice. I am aware that as I sing,  a sense of liberationevokes the energy of youth and a spontaneous energy that offers a comforting feeling in my gut.

The silence of the morning provides comfort.  This solitude does not fade, but creates a yearning for more quiet. More time to sink into the even cadence of my breath.

The sadness in the young woman’s eyes at familiar intersection. She holds a sign that  says, “Need help.”  Paying attention means confronting what someone else’s story maybe and not taking your own story for granted.

Pay attention. It matters.