I refrain from comparing myself to others; whenever I do tap into that samskara (see: an imprint from our past), the results are most often horrendous. Nothing takes me farther from mindfulness than the moment when I start to compare myself to others. Yet, sometimes, comparison sparks reflection.
On Sunday, while visiting the Toronto zoo with my family and waiting in line to see the new Giant Panda cubs, I naturally started watching the people around me. I love to people-watch, to study ‘strangers’ who intrigue me, then compose stories about them in my mind. I watched a beautiful woman with curly blond hair piled high, who wore her young baby in a carrier on the front of her body while pushing her toddler in a stroller before her. I looked at my own children, attempting to be patient while waiting our turn to see the pandas. Was it really that long ago that Wanderlust Juniors were six months and three years old, respectively? In a photograph on a wall in our home, taken about 3.5-years ago during another Sunday outing at the zoo, I’m wearing the youngest Wanderlust Junior in a carrier, facing me, while holding the hand of the eldest Wanderlust Junior, who looks remarkably young and small.
Time doesn’t often catch me off-guard. I start each day with yoga and the intention to live fully in each moment. I continue to remind myself of this intention throughout the day. I end each evening with meditation and express my gratitude for all the experiences of the day that has passed. I don’t wish to return to those infant and toddler days. I don’t wish to repeat it all. I do cherish all our wonderful memories from that time. Yet, I am in awe of the magic that lurks in the background while we move through our daily routines of work, school, clean-up, laundry, dishes, play time, books, and bedtime, working every day to simplify, to slow down, to allow ourselves to create space to breathe and revel in the beauty of these routines, sometimes organized, often chaotic.
May we remember to slow down, to sit back for a minute, and observe with gratitude the intricate miracles that weave themselves into each experience, however grand or mundane.