Encouraged to practice paying attention by Barbara Brown Taylor's beautiful book, An Altar in the World: a Geography of Faith, this spring break I determined to devote my body and mind to the space around me and the people who inhabit that space. To notice and open fully to the touching, the seeing, the hearing, the smelling, the tasting--what Taylor calls the "practice of wearing skin."
So this spring break at the dmv where my 16 year old was applying for her license (every 16 year old in the city wanted a license that day...of course! it was spring break!), I minded the people there. But not how I usually mind. On that day, my habit of irritation when I have to wait or feel claustrophobic with strangers was forgotten in the minding, in the mindfulness of the space and the people there. Like the white haired man taking information and typing it into his computer. While Lynnae answered his monotone questions, I watched his weathered and gnarled fingers hunt and peck at the keyboard. That day, I wondered what those hands had done in another era, who they had touched or what they had made. And on that day, he looked up and smiled at last when we thanked him and noted that he pronounced Lynnae correctly.
And on this day, the last of spring break, instead of going to church and waving palm fronds, Lynnae and I volunteered to do the food run for the community soup kitchen. This day dawned spring and the Whole Foods Market employees cheerfully directed us to more and more food to fill our van--so much bread--the crusty outside but fluffy inside kind. And loads of organic fruits and vegetables. And it was full to the very top. And on this day, the fresh smell of the store permeated the van as we drove to Shove Chapel, the location of the soup kitchen. When we arrived, several homeless men helped us unload. And they were smiling and one man raised his hand and grinned, "It's Palm Sunday!". Yes, it is. On this day we are glad that those bodies won't be hungry.
And this day I tried two new recipes to serve to my family, Rachel Ray's Taco Pasta Toss, and Monet's Sweet Lime pie. Thanks to Laura, who tried the pie recipe first and loved it and to Lydia for pointing us to her friend Monet's blog, full of deliciously healthy recipes and interesting book reviews. It is Palm Sunday and on this day I am glad to savor home cooked food with my family.
This day I walked behind my husband and held the spool of wire to keep it from tangling as he anchored it to the perimeter of our yard. It is Palm Sunday and this day I savored the sun on my skin and the easy companionship of working with my husband.
It's a good practice, this practice of paying attention. It's a sacred practice, this practice of wearing skin. Two I think I really need to keep.