Mindful Monday: Moments of Sweetness

Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan, stays long enough
to make sense of what it means to be alive,
— Stephen Dunn

The first sound I heard when I walked out of the door this morning to shovel last night’s snowfall was a cardinal singing. Clear, high pitched and bright.  It was a sound of sweetness and a reminder to be mindful of the sweet things that roll in after a storm.

Today we had a brief thaw. It was a sunny day and mild temperatures finally above the freezing mark. And inspired by the cardinal this morning I headed out for a long walk this afternoon in a park that plows its driveway enough so that there is a space to walk. And I just let myself get taken in by moments of sweetness. The light through the trees. The kids sledding on the hill. The warmth of the sun on my face. The dogs wagging their tails. People all bundled up. People learning to cross country ski. A half built snow man.

In the same way that we learn to ‘free write’ where you don’t edit what you are writing and you don’t force yourself to have a narrative, I let my mind wander as I walked just noticing moments of sweetness. I just let each one just land on me like a butterfly where I could enjoy it for a second until my thoughts blew it away, or another landed. And perhaps this is the key to sweetness- don’t overthink it. Let the sweet moments float to you. Let them just appear. Just notice them and take them in. It is a practice in mindfulness and noticing. But it is also a practice in non-judgmental awareness. You are noticing with a welcoming heart and mind.

Moments of sweetness are such powerful medicine. They are the antidote to a long winter—of any sort, whether seasonal or emotional. They are what we need to heal from the daily dose of cynicism and contempt that the news and media send us. Moments of sweetness are free and the more we notice them the more we see how much we have, how much we live in a world of abundance. They help us see what is there, and train our thinking away from looking at what isn’t there.

Moments of sweetness are a salve for any healing you need to do—whether it's just daily wear and tear, or a much deeper wound. And moments of sweetness are available anywhere, any time. This week, try this practice. Just breathe and look around, with all of your senses—your eyes, your ears, your smell—and also your heart. Let yourself take in moments of sweetness. Let them land on your, one after another. And then see if you can recall them at the end of the day as you are falling asleep.

© Gretchen L. Schmelzer, PhD 2015