How to Be Astonished before 10 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although it is not yet 10 am, I have:

enjoyed clean running water eight times and indoor plumbing twice

sipped tea from the Qimen County in Anhwei province in China

nibbled strawberries from the foothills of the Cascades

drank blue-green algae from Lake Tahoe

meditated thanks to the wisdom of an unbroken lineage more than 2500 years old

kissed my beloved five times

played with four dogs

gazed at black-green cedars against a blue-gray sky

inhaled the perfume of those cedars and their friends, the firs

read Nick Kristof on the miracle of change in Africa and John O’Donohue on poetry

talked to seventeen people on three continents about prayer, TED talks, and the oil spill

hung out with three teenagers, three grandparents and four dogs

plus about 10,000 other miracles I have already forgotten.

I walk around astonished most of the time for good reason, don’t you think?

What would be on your list?

What bounty have you savored this day?

What extravaganza of love is being laid out for you in this very moment?

Astonishing, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

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Saralee Leary - July 3, 2011

woke up a second time after falling back to sleep (no insomnia)
remembered a dreamheard many bird songsmade my favorite coffeetasted blueberries from NJwished my Father a Happy 90th Birthdaywrote a journal entry
read a sweet story about healing

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Darrah Parker - July 3, 2011

I have showered in warm water. I have asked the internet questions and it has answered me. I have watched a tennis match as it happened across the globe. And as I write this, I am watching my belly bounce around as the growing baby inside me dances her little dance. Life really is astonishing.

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gwyn michael - July 4, 2011

It’s 8:35 pm and I have had a day of way too many amazing things to list so I’ll share some highlights.
Coffee in bed delivered by my awesome husband. Delivering a print to a thrilled customer at 9:30 am. Creating a delicious salad with at least some ingredients from my own garden. Sharing the salad with new friends on a balmy day under the trees. Children, dogs and people of all ages. Fresh water more times than I can count. finding this lovely prompt upon returning home for the evening.
Thanks Jen!

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Donna - July 4, 2011

Lately I have been astonished by trees. We take trees for granted but they are there in our own backyards day after day. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colours. I look out my 8th storey window and see all the trees laid out before me. Now because it’s summer the leaves on the trees block out all the or scenery. I realize that I have never really looked at a tree like I have this year. This year it’s almost like they are sacred and special.

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    jenniferlouden - July 7, 2011

    Yes! Truly after fires esp. I have been moved by trees. The green among the black. Thanks for your wise words.

    Reply
Jamie Matthewman - July 4, 2011

From a blokes perspective on the other side of the pond, I have been astonished by your words, I am learning more and more to slow down and savour in part down to you, thanks Jen 🙂 What I am noticing is astonishing – all of it! I was astonished yesterday with the realisation that nature dictates the speed of life, and the only creature that argues with that truth is our good selves which can make things seem like hard work! Time to relax and enjoy the ride ! 

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    jenniferlouden - July 7, 2011

    Jamie I have been thinking about your kind comment for days. So thrilled to make a difference to your savoring that is so cool! Glad to be connected!

    Reply
Kathy - July 4, 2011

Astonished by
the opportunity to sit and take in a beautiful lake on this blue-sky, sun-filled morning. Eating wholesome, healthy, food that fuels me.
Quiet morning time to myself followed by
Time with my family and in particular savoring my 8 year old and her delight, joy and energy.

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    jenniferlouden - July 7, 2011

    Thanks Kathy for sharing!

    Reply
Kathy - July 4, 2011

Astonished by
the opportunity to sit and take in a beautiful lake on this blue-sky, sun-filled morning. Eating wholesome, healthy, food that fuels me.
Quiet morning time to myself followed by
Time with my family and in particular savoring my 8 year old and her delight, joy and energy.

Reply
Cindy Moneta - July 4, 2011

Although it is not 10:00 am yet I have enjoyed…
A stealthily maneuvered first light stretchin my thrift store carved pineapple bed monopolized by Mona Mae, my Boston terrier and Louie, Abby’s Boston terrier
Committing my dreams to memorysuddenly becoming aware that Nature has been playing a recurring and intuitive role
Remembering it was the 4th of July and contemplating the magnitude of my freedom
Expressing heartfelt gratitude to Mother Creator, Father God, and Sacred Mother Earth for my freedom and for my unique gifts
Beseeching that I make purposeful meaning of these freedoms and gifts to the benefit of othersin mindful service
Contemplative prayerrepeated on multi colored agate rosary beads handcrafted by Minnie Hawk an Alaskan Inupiaq
Chanting  to Tara, Goddess of Compassion   the mantra  imparted to me by a Nepalese Mother Shaman practiced on prayer beadsbestowed upon me by aTibetan spiritual leader who with two children strapped to her backescaped the brutal Chinese communist take-over of her beloved country
Celebrating the morning with an Italian espressooutside on the deck of my two story garage abodeDelighting in the sights and sounds and smells that transform the busy potted herbs and plants and flowers into an elemental habitat
Being walked, yanked, pulled and abruptly halted by the dogsas we navigate the feeder road that runs parallel to the oceanwhich on this, my 62nd Independence Day isconsumed with holiday enthusiasts, strollers, bicycles, skateboards, dogs andthe occasional “ pile” that did not get bagged and deposited
Making nice (as Nunny would so often say)
my driveway garden
for the enjoyment of all who pass byReflecting on this morning and in doing soCalling back the phenomenal writing week (spiritual retreat) I shared in Taos with Abbey, Jen and all of the remarkable  genuine women and experiences  that touched my life in ways that are still being realized.
Astonishing, isn’t it?

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    jenniferlouden - July 7, 2011

    Cindy thisis the most miraculous list! Big hugs!

    Reply
Casey Truffo - July 4, 2011

Indoor plumbing tops the list for me – although the fact that I have working taste buds and the ability to swallow easily — as well as the opportunity to see all the colors of the rainbow in every direction and breathe fresh air — wow – can it get any sweeter than this? Thanks for reminding me.
Hugs,
Casey

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    jenniferlouden - July 7, 2011

    Thanks for sharing your list! Hugs back!

    Reply
Kimberly - July 4, 2011

Too many things to even begin. Top of the list is the love I feel around me, and the amazing Jen. Finding this blog has been a great gift to me. Reading the comments here connects me to so many amazing people. I am truly blessed. 🙂

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    jenniferlouden - July 7, 2011

    I call myself Lucky. Blessed is a good nickname too!

    Reply
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Bebblady - July 24, 2011

Wonderful shared gratitudes here. Made me think of all the amazing things I have been taking for granted. Now, appreciating the wonder of My morning as well. thank you all for sharing your gratitudes . You have been an inspiration and wake up call.
I am grateful for you!

Reply
Jana Jopson - August 9, 2011

Although it is not 11:00 am yet I have …

-experienced the miracle of waking up to a new day
-felt the exquisite softness of my dog’s ears
-sat before my altar to thank the elements and Spirit
-eaten beautiful organic strawberries
-sipped a cup of Chun Hao tea in a cup handmade just for me
-checked in with my body, mind, and spirit to see how things are
-savored the anticipation of dinner with a heart-friend
-experienced the quiet burblings of the day’s creative juices
-given thanks that a woman like Jen is on this planet, at this time, in this life of mine …

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    jenniferlouden - August 11, 2011

    What a beautiful list! Jana thank you.

    Reply
Simone Seol - August 30, 2011

Jen, when I read this when you posted it, it actually led me to a hugely profound realization that has transformed the way I’ved look at everything in the past weeks. I have been measuring how ‘well’ I lived in all the wrong ways. I’d been walking around thinking that entire chunks of years were ‘wasted’ because I hadn’t been accomplishing X, Y and Z. And if you can believe it, I considered the majority of the time I’ve been alive to be an embarrassment, a failure-to-live-up-to. When I did something that became a line in my resume, those were the only non-failures. 

Thanks to this post, the song that’s been playing in the back of my head in the past month: “How do you measure a year in the life? In inches, in miles, in laughter and strife.” I’ve known this song forever but never  thought about what this really means.

So how DO you measure a year? A month? a day?

Your post was transformative because it was an exquisite way to ‘measure’ a few morning hours. It changed the way I evaluate my life so far (an embarrassment of riches, not failure!). I make these lists daily now; knowing that the true metrics are composed of  these micro-moments of savoring, learning and loving, I strive for more of them daily and record them. The recording is just as important as recording a ‘career accomplishment’ in a resume – maybe more – because it is a physical reminder of the Whole Point of Being Alive.

Thank you.

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    jenniferlouden - August 30, 2011

    oh Simone, thank you for making my year! To know my words helped you see your beauty and the beauty of life – oh holy batgirl that is grand! mirco moments, yes!

    Reply
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