Today the trees were not gloriously dressed in brittle white.  Now, just grey and stark.  If that is all I saw today I would feel gloomy, but then I looked beyond and saw the sky.  Not just any sky, our Wyoming sky.  How many ways can nature paint on that canvas with the clouds?  Then, when that is not beautiful enough, a flock of birds soars, giving motion and lift and passage.

You have probably been hearing a lot about the practice of mindfulness.  The term was new to me.  So I looked up a definition in the Merriam Webster online dictionary – the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis;”  Well that sounded a bit self-centered to me, so I just googled a definition – mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. This one makes a bit more sense to me and coincides with concepts I’ve read by many spiritual writers of varying faith traditions.  If the past is gone and the future not yet, living in the present moment means embracing the only time that exists – now.  The next step for this good librarian was checking out the library’s catalog.  Wow!  131 items on mindfulness – books for dummies, books on CD and books for kids.  Great resources.

Time, patience, motivation and persistence all look like basic requirements for achieving a life of mindfulness.  My first reaction is…well…good luck with that in our loud, fast-paced, hectic lives.  Yet your library may be able to assist.

What you need to start that journey toward mindfulness is a space like some found in this library.  They recommend that you start by finding a place with few distractions.  Have you been to the Capital Room on the third floor?  It even says on the door that you can’t even have a conversation in that space.

This room provides more than just quiet space. Sitting at home and getting to that silent place where you can just be present is pretty hard to achieve in a windowless room (even with soothing music and flickering candles).  The view from the Capital Room is spectacular and lends itself to a centering experience on a winter’s day.  You may achieve the first steps of being present just from the sights of nature and weather and people and silent traffic within your view.

So come on up.  Stop by The Library Café and get one of our great Chai teas.  Start by giving yourself 10 minutes to slow down, check in with yourself and live for just that moment.  The rest of world will be waiting for you when you’re done.

~Carey D. Hartmann