Every morning I call my daughter’s name. With this bellow, I say, “Hurry, we are going to be late for school.” She usually responds by saying, “Ok, Momma. I am hurrying.” As she eats her breakfast, she lingers. She needles her eggs or pancakes and takes a few sips of her milk. Then she may grab her rainbow loom bands and attempt to make a ladder bracelet. My marriage with time interferes and once again, I say, “Chop-chop. Eat your breakfast, we will be late.” She refocuses her gaze on her food and then resumes eating again.
When we drive to school, I watch as one minute ticks to the next, while my daughter, asks questions and makes observations that span from the particular to the silly: “Why is that tractor carrying all that dirt? The sun looks so pretty, Momma. Look at all the hot air-balloons in the sky.” She will slow down and pay attention to the details of the landscape, sky, or her general surroundings, while I tend to focus my gaze on practicalities. It takes a conscious effort to live slow enough to really observe these moments as they are happening.
What does it meant to live slow enough? I’ve pondered this question. It means not multitasking, but focusing on what is in front of you. That may mean putting down your cellphone while watching your kids play in the park. Looking up at the sky. Gazing down at the ground. Hearing the sound of different voices around you. In another context it might mean not talking, but listening. Whether it is to your own breath or to spending time really listening to someone else. How often do we really live slow enough to see and listen?
To my surprise, the moment I decided to redirect my focus on just one thing, this view caught my attention. We were dining at a restaurant, I looked up and caught the pinkish-blue tint in the sky. The tree branches extended their reach to embrace the sky. Living slow enough in that particular moment provided a tangible lesson: paying attention can offer immeasurable beauty.