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Note: These Mindfulness Moments are short reflective exercises that encourage us to pause in our day and notice our self and our surroundings with practiced attention. All of these ideas are ones I’ve learned along the way in my study of mindfulness, and many more are available at length if you just do a little digging. These are just examples. I recommend moving slowly through each step. There is no need for hurry here.

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  • Begin by standing or sitting comfortably, with both feet on the ground.
  • Breathe deeply and focus your attention on your feet pressing against the ground below you.
  • Slowly rock your feet against the ground, feeling your weight shift from your heels, to the ball of your foot, and to your toes.
  • Imagine you are a tree with roots that go deep into the earth, as you notice the strength of your connection to the ground.
  • Feel steady and tall as you connect your whole being to the earth through your feet. Feel yourself rising from the roots that balance you. Feel these roots connecting you with all Life that also stands on this same earth.
  • Take this steadiness with you as you face today’s challenges and joys.

Kathryn and I recently returned from a whirlwind trip out East. We had an incredible week visiting friends, experiencing New Brunswick’s raw beauty and revelling in some days of relaxation. I came home feel refreshed and renewed.

But very quickly that joy turned to pain. One afternoon after we returned, I found myself feeling hopeless and even angry. The sense of loss from not being able to see our East coast friends more regularly was ripping me apart inside.

Part of my struggle that day was knowing that the individuals that I care so deeply about out East have newer, closer relationships with new students at the university and other friends who have stayed in town. We simply can’t be as close as we used to be because of the distance and because of the way our lives have changed and grown.

And I recognize that there are new closer relationships in my life too, but as I puzzled through why I felt so angry, I realized I am jealous. I felt jealous listening to a podcast one of my friends did with a newer student whom I don’t know. I felt jealous hearing my friend’s son referring to other people as “uncle” and “aunt” but seeing me as a complete stranger. And this jealousy initially made me want to pull away from these relationships even further.

I’ve always thought of jealousy as a negative thing, a sin as the church taught me. But I feel okay now recognizing and even honouring that jealousy. It serves a purpose, it reminds me that I grieve that I can’t be closer with my East coast friends, and helps me remember the significance of their roles in my life when I was.

And I can breathe life into our new relationships (both mine here, and for them out there) and be glad that both them and I have others to celebrate, grieve, struggle and share our lives with now.

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