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My in-laws live in the Puget Sound area. I’ve landed at the Sea-Tac Aiport more times than I can count and I have always enjoyed looking at the bronze fish swimming along the floor (which I have just learned were created by Judith and Daniel Caldwell and are called, “Flying Fish”—thanks, Google!)
Last year, something magical happened. I traveled through the airport for the first time with my kids.
Fresh off the plane and with lots of energy, they had the good sense to actually look at each fish. Most of them are normal fish, of course–your regular, run-of-the-mill salmon swimming upstream. But every so often, one of them carries a suitcase, or is shaped like an airplane.
I’ve walked by a thousand times (well, maybe dozens) and hadn’t stopped to actually observe what I was seeing.
Pema Chödrön, a Buddhist nun from America, says, “We train in being present with whatever arises in our experience, whether it is pain or pleasure, something agreeable or disagreeable. This is our path. We need to be mature about the fact that the terrain in which we are waking up is rough as well as smooth, churned up as well as calm, sour as well as sweet. The challenge is to be completely present with whatever comes up and see what you discover.”
Sometimes what “comes up” isn’t as pleasant as luggage-carrying fish. Sometimes, its vomit. Or sleepless nights. Or long-term illness. Still, I’m learning that to be present for the good stuff, I have to also be present for the bad. The discoveries I’m making, are pretty amazing. I’m so grateful for the little lessons my kids teach me daily.
What about you? What have you discovered today? Any journeys planned (of the exotic or close-to-home sort)? What have your kids taught you today? Let us know!
by Kari McMullin
Tags: Pema Chodron, presence, mindful parenting