I know, I know. This question is not fair.
Hear me out: I was reading Madeline L’Engle to my kids recently and in the story Meg has to “kythe” – which is to communicate without any standard tools of communication, like words, expression, or movement. To kythe is to infuse understanding into someone else, and it’s really really hard to do. As Meg struggles to do it, her angel/mentor/partner asks her a simple question: Are you calm?
We cannot kythe or parent or work or love or pray or sleep or listen or ponder if we are not calm. Often, I am not calm. I am irritated. I am overwhelmed. I am hurried. I am worried. I am any number of things that are the exact opposite of calm. We all are.
To break that pattern, we can bring this question to ourselves over and over again in the practice of mindfulness. When we feel anxiety this week, when we start to get swept up in the endless to-do lists of the holiday season, let’s gently breathe into this question, letting it be a mantra to help us build self-awareness, that necessary precursor to intention.
It is okay if our ponder board is empty this week. We need not write; we need only to check in with ourselves, and with one another lovingly, as we continue this wrenching, exquisite onward journey.