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ImageI went to a talk on mindfulness last night with my daughter, husband and friend.  Chan Huy, founder of the Institute of Applied Mindfulness in Montreal, talked about the peace that comes when living in the present, when we are mindful of our breathing in and out, of every step we take, of the blessings we have right now. He said the past is full of regrets (or at least our reflections are often about our missteps) and the future is full of threats (or it can often seem that way), but we can rest in the present moment. Rest and connect with the blessings and beauty we already possess but are often too distracted to notice.

I remember the morning of my wedding when I walked to the end of the dock at my parent’s lake and sat there by myself. My life was about to change dramatically and there were many details of the day, much less the rest of my life, to fret about. But I dangled my feet in the water and noticed the woods across the blue expanse, the familiar pussy willows along the shoreline and the fishing boats tied to piers, rocking with the waves. I soaked in the smells, the sounds and the sights in an effort to permanently imprint them on my soul. I’m so glad I chose to do that rather than pace the floor with worry. It’s a memory I still relish, 29 years later.

Now, in yet another stage of life, I believe simplification is a form of mindfulness. A way of removing the extraneous which so often overwhelms and distracts us. A way of understanding how little is necessary to be truly content (like simply enjoying coffee on the porch). And like other practices of mindfulness, simplifying doesn’t come without intentional practice…and breathing deeply.