With a slight chill in the air, the sound of rustling leaves, and an awareness that the darkness encloses the sky a little earlier each night, we realize that the fall season is upon us. The pace of life accelerates as children resume in-classroom learning, rush hour traffic increases, and the trinity of fall holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas – suddenly loom before us. If we’re not careful, the season can quickly overwhelm us with “to do” lists and over-scheduled calendars.
It can be hard to step back from this seasonal rush, especially when stores have been featuring bright orange pumpkins, festive turkey décor, and sparkling tree ornaments since the beginning of August. Yet, for our health and wellbeing, it’s important to pause, take a deep breath, and enjoy the present moment before hustling to the next event.
If this sounds like practicing mindfulness, you are right. While, in some ways, mindfulness may seem to be a more recently emerging trend, the task of pausing, breathing, and appreciating the moment, has roots in the major religious movements, including Christianity.
Christians often reflect on the words of Ecclesiastes 3 in which we read, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” The author acknowledges that there is an appropriate time for each aspect of life’s journey, from birth through death. By taking time to fully experience each moment, we grow in our appreciation of life’s complexities and we gain wisdom by being attentive to all that is taking place.
It takes time and practice to slow down and notice the details of life, whether it be feeling the gentle ocean breeze, listening to the chatter of students on a playground, or truly savoring that pumpkin spice latte.
In the midst of busy lives, we often need reminders to “smell the roses” and cherish the little things that make life so rich with beauty and meaning. As a person of faith, I’ve discovered that God’s goodness can be witnessed in these thoughtful and attentive moments. Taking time to pause, breathe, and appreciate these gifts makes for a blessed life.
By Rev. Janet Cromwell
West Los Angeles United