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New Practice

January 15, 2015


Untold times a day, I reach for these reading glasses.  At least once a day, I search for them.  The search is usually urgent, because when you want to see clearly, now is a good time.


At dinner, Andrew mentions his eyeglasses. I am incredulous, “but you don’t have glasses.”

His incredulous look matches mine.  “Yes, Mom, I do.  Don’t you remember?”  His brother offers reinforcements, “Yeah, Mom, don’t you remember.  He got them so he could see from the back of the lecture hall?”  By then, as if I need further convincing, Andrew races upstairs and comes down wearing glasses. In my defense, he notes that he keeps them in his backpack and wears them only in class.

As dinner dishes are cleared, this exchange sinks in and I am sunk.


My son became bespectacled during the time my mom was going into her assisted living facility.  I know during this time, that I engaged in conversation with my son about  upcoming eye doctor appointments, talk of eyeglasses.  I know that I was shown these glasses.  I’m fairly sure that I offered a smile and appropriate comments as I feigned attentiveness. 

And I now know that I was not present.  So not present.  I have no memory of this small family event of a year ago.  None.

I am stunned, sobered.  I had no idea that I lived in such a state of  distraction for a season. 


And so I have begun a practice.  The practice of being where I am.  And it is a practice.  Not in a practice-makes-perfect sort of way, but in a fledgling-heightened-awareness sort of way.  Some days the practice goes much better than others. 


Every time I visit my mom, I clean her eyeglasses.  It is a ritual, of sorts – I run the sink water, soap the lenses, rinse, dry, place them gently on her face, look her in the eyes and say “better or worse?”  Sometimes she says better, and sometimes, she grins and says worse, which cracks us up.  More and more days, she’s unable to say anything.   More and more days, she speaks with her eyes.   I swear, sometimes, time stands still. 

And I tell you, not only can time stand still, but when I slow down and become present, time expands.  The stuff that needs to get done, gets done.  A paradox.  A paradox worthy of practice.


May time stand still for you,


PS  If you see my shoulders scrunched over my laptop, or my glazed eyes staring at my phone,  give me a shake.  Insist I look you in the eyes.  I thank you in advance!

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