The Art of Mindfulness

The art of mindfulness -- noticing beauty made exquisite by its impermanence.  A special rite of spring in Boston is the return of the hanging nasturtiums to the courtyard of the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum. The nasturtiums are displayed just 10-14 days each year at the beginning of April. I visited the nasturtiums today and was awed by their vivid, simple majesty. Rapunsel-like plants letting down their tresses. Grateful for the moment of beauty and the promise of spring.

Grace, Love, and Caregiving Choices

Full disclosure, I am a faithful listener to WBUR in Boston and I write for WBUR's Cognoscenti Page. I especially love On Point with Tom Ashbrook -- I have been known to have "parking lot moments" when I sit in my car, radio on, engine running in my office building parking lot, just to finish listening to a topic Tom and one of his guests are discussing. Tom's inquisitive questions and gentle yet focused interviewing style have kept me company on many mornings. Like many, I was saddened to hear that he was taking an immediate leave of absence to care for his wife who is very ill. Through this intentional choice of following his heart and his compassion, Tom has become a teacher to the rest of us that it is OK to say that family caregiving is a priority and to step away, albeit temporarily, from the demands of work. Tom posted a poignant and powerful letter to explain his decision yesterday, and I am sure I am not alone in feeling gratitude that he chose to share an
explanation of this difficult time with such grace, love and compassion.

Tom, as a male, has also taken bold move by stepping into the caregiving role. Statistics show that the vast majority of family caregivers during chronic illness and end of life are women. Often these women are attempting to work outside the home and be family caregivers at the same time, because of a lack of sick time or leaves of absence in their workplace. Tom's willingness to shine light on the need for families to have the ability take time away from their paid work for the well-being of their family is a teachable moment for all of us. Tom Ashbrook has been able to make this compassionate choice for himself, his wife and family is because he has been granted a leave of absence from his employer. As the Massachusetts election results rolled in on Wednesday morning and ballot question 4 (earned sick time) was approved by voters, it made me think of Tom and his family and gave me hope that another family facing end of life issues would now also be more able to make a similar compassionate choice without financial ruin.

To live in a compassionate society, we must be compassionate beings. Thank you to Tom Ashbrook, his wife Danielle, and their family for demonstrating what grace, love, and caregiving choices look like. I wish them peace, hope, and grace today and in the days ahead, and I will be welcome Tom back into my radio-listening life when he is ready to return.

Boston Spring Haiku

Last November I challenged myself and my blog readers to compose one haiku a day as an exercise in mindfulness. While I am not sure I am ready to recommit to a daily haiku quite yet, I do find myself using the beautifully simple construct of a haiku to view the world through a more mindful lens. Today as I drove along the Charles River on my way to Boston this haiku took shape.

Boston Spring

Sailboats gliding by
Snowstorm predicted tonight
Springtime in Boston

Day 13 Mindful Moments Challenge

Balmy Boston -- quite an ironic statement for January in the northeast. Today as the mercury inched to 50 degrees I observed the relative nature of temperature. This afternoon sun shone and the snow seemed to melt before my eyes, I opened my car windows and remarked how warm the air felt. Yet, in August if the temperature was 50 degrees, I would bundle up in a sweatshirt and bemoan the fact that we were having such cold weather....a humorous mindful moment that I hope I won't forget come's all relative!

From Sedona to Boston...Powerful and Resilient

Awe-Inspiring, Powerful and Resilient...these were the words that came to me as I drank in the breathtaking beauty of Sedona, Arizona on April 12.   Less than 72 hours later, on April 15, I was back in Boston and blindsided by the emotional rollercoaster that ensued following the Boston Marathon bombings.

As the new normal has begun to settle into Boston, as it did in the weeks and months following 9/11 in New York City, those same words that resonated with me as I scanned the magnificent vistas in Sedona, surface as I continue to witness the amazing ability of the human spirit to bounce back from adversity; tenacious and strong...Awe-inspiring, Powerful and Resilient.