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Be Mindful, Jan 17, 2023

I am chilled to the core when I look at this photograph. I recall how the frost caressed the branches of the trees that day, just as the subzero temperatures caressed my lungs. Mother Nature was showing off her frigid temperatures, and I became enamored with capturing the spectacular performance.

My walking adventure soon became a game of endurance, and winter was sure to win. The obstacles in front of me were life or limb, for I had no choice but to lose one if I continued my quest to capture its beauty.

Click, Click, Click fired my camera as I stopped to photograph the ice crystals that had formed in the air. The sky was a turquoise blue from the dropping temperature and practically matched my fingers. My teeth chattered, and my toes gripped the inside of my boots as my steps sounded off crunching noises as they shuffled forward. One more photo, just one more.

I am not a fan of winter's bitterness, but I am an enthusiast of the majestic scenery its effects create. How ironic that something that could inevitably take my life or leave me wounded could be an object of my affection. The irony at the moment led me to question other areas where satire holds the cards.

Sometimes, I am surprised by my physical limitations, but I have only myself to blame for neglecting my body. I celebrate anniversaries with enthusiasm but then make plans to end the relationship. And I receive rewards for responsibilities that I ignored or never completed.

As I pondered these moments and more, I grew antsy in my skin, knowing irony is no game one can win but realizing if I were to be more mindful of my actions and reactions could lend way to beauty, just as they did on my walk that cold winter day.

So I mindfully observed ironies around me and turned them into joy. I started with my taste buds. When presented with a new dish, I did not turn it away; instead, I satisfied my hunger. Next, I worked on graciously receiving a compliment, which is ironic—and lastly, allowing the sun to lay upon my skin. Even if, for a moment, I experienced the warmth rather than focused on the harm.

I found being mindful led to being grateful. I was excited to see my fuel gauge on full, find change in a pocket and leftovers in the fridge. I started seeing the good in even the worst situations by being mindful of my actions.

From my broken marriage, I am mindful of the beautiful children we raised. From death, I am mindful of the memories we created. And from relocating my home, I am mindful of my new friends and career opportunities.

Without sorrow, we may never know joy. Without pain, we may never understand feeling good. And without heartache, we may never experience love.

And even though this adventure was me overthinking, I found myself with amazing photos and being mindful of the things in life that bring me joy. And all in a day's work.

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