In her poem entitled, Mindful, Mary Oliver says, “Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight, … It is what I was born for – to look, to listen, … to instruct myself over and over in joy and acclamation.” She makes it clear that she is not referring to “the exceptional,” nor “the very extravagant,” but rather, “the ordinary, the common, [even] the very drab.”
In a similar vein, if we consult Christophe André’s, “Looking at Mindfulness,” the text opens with this guidance: “Living in mindfulness means paying regular, calm attention to the present moment. This attitude can radically alter our relationship to the world, ease our suffering and enhance our joys.”
In a world deeply marked by hurricanes, floods, fires and many forms of violence, the easing of suffering and the enhancement of joy may seem like a tall order. But as we approach the third week of our Advent journey, we can ask what it might mean to instruct ourselves over and over in joy.
Are we paying close attention to the present moment? If we look and listen carefully, might we find joy in the ordinariness of our daily life? What makes us smile or laugh? What fills our heart with delight? In these moments, can we feel the touch of the Sacred, perhaps in a new way? As Christmas approaches, may we eagerly embrace the joyful Sacred moments we were born for.
– Cate McBurney