Being mindful, a fancy way to say “paying attention”? In some ways, yet I believe actively being mindful is vastly more than just our attention. Paying attention is where this concept begins, not where it ends. Over the past few months in an array of areas of my life, personal and professional, I have been reminded time and again how important, even crucial, being mindful is. When time is flying by, along with days, weeks, months, there has to be a way to catch your breath, to stay still, to notice. I have discovered these moments, the ones we pause for, pay attention to, are the ones we hold close and dear. In contrast, if we don’t slow ourselves down and stop to pay attention from time to time most of those moments are just a blur. As we become older it is even more clear how fast everything and everyone can pass us by. In what seems like a blink or two of your eyes that baby is now a toddler; the toddler is a small child; the small child now looks down on you having grown to their full height. However the point isn’t about spending time on what has passed but what is happening right now! And it’s hard to slow down, difficult to pause when life is going so fast, yet that is when it’s the most important to do so. Being mindful opens you up to moments, to the smile or laugh of a friend. The tears of a loved one or a client. The love and care in someone’s eyes. The color, design and features of VW bug in the punch buggy game (sorry, family joke), but in order to get ahead in the punch buggy game you have to pay attention! And notice, just in that or those moments, what is going on? How do I/you feel? What can you appreciate (or not) right now? Is now a time to feel fortunate for all you have, for all you are, for those precious people in your life? Is now a particularly difficult time? In what way(s) could you allow this moment to just be? Do you merely observe or do you remind yourself that “this too shall pass”? Maybe you stop, observe and take a few deep breaths, allowing your body the chance to relax and deescalate or detach from strong emotions. As the wise poet Rilke wrote, “...the point is to live everything...”. In living everything we need be open to whatever comes.