A Diamond in the Dust

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
A Diamond in the Dust
Recently I exchanged my Manhattan apartment of 26 years for a home in the country 90 miles north of the city. The move was a lesson in learning to let go. It was also a test of perseverance.

Some time ago I lost a small diamond stud. It was never found, and I am convinced it lay somewhere in my crowded apartment. As we packed, I repeated to my husband, David, “Be careful what you move or throw out. Maybe we’ll find the diamond.”

It was a needle in the haystack thought given the amount of furniture and bric-a-brac in our crowded apartment. But I persevered and never gave up hope. During the final day of sweeping the apartment, I hunched over and carefully examined every pan of dust… just in case. There was a lot of dust but no diamond.

But it was the final sweep of the day that reminded me never to give up or lose focus. As I leaned over one last time to inspect the dustpan, I saw something light. It was a small stone whose sparkle was dimmed by the dust. I carefully placed it in a plastic bag and then proceeded to misplace the bag. Frantically, we unpacked the last three duffel bags and peered in every plastic bag. Finally, I found the stone.

“Do you think it’s real?” David asked.

“I don’t know or care at this point,” I responded. “What matters is that I found the stone because I never gave up hope or trying. It’s a sign that my life moving forward is destined to have sparkle and it’s important to always look for the brilliance. It’s my hope diamond-cubic-zirconia.”

Fresh off the clean sweep of our Manhattan apartment, we’ve just started to clean out the debris left by this year’s volatile relationship between Mother Nature and Old Man Winter. We’ve become rather adept at clearing debris and looking for signs of renewal. Now, it’s in the form of spring blossoms which are just starting to poke up out of the leaves and displaced grass and mud from the storms and the plow.

Just as I felt when I found my “diamond” in the dusty apartment, I shiver with excitement when I see a glimpse of bright yellow daffodil buds or purple crocus. They are signs of hope that something brilliant is about to pop up.

The jeweler confirmed the inauthenticity of the “diamond,” but it doesn’t matter, because I consider the experience another authentic set of life lessons: If you look hard enough and stay focused you will find diamonds in the dust. You may need to clear out the debris to find the brilliance. And you should never lose your sparkle.

I Play a Game With My Kids Called Meditation
“I’m thankful for my grandparents, because they help put me to bed,” said my 4-year-old.

I don’t usually feel emotional about statements like this, but her statement hit a chord. You see, as a working parent, my parents and my in-laws have been instrumental in the upbringing of my young kids. I’m reminded of all of those years of medical school and residency when my mom would sleep with the baby so I could get a good night’s sleep.

My kids and I play this game almost every night that we call “meditation.” No, we don’t sit in a darkened room, in yoga positions with spiritual music in the background. Most times, we don’t spend more than 10 minutes doing it. Essentially, It’s a few, calm minutes of sitting on the floor in our pajamas where we just reflect on the day, our lives or each other. We try not to talk about “stuff” (toys, video games, etc.). I put my phone away, and the other electronics are turned off.

What I love is that, sometimes, it’s the first time of the day that I get to really look into my kids’ eyes and engage with them. They’re not moving, eating or watching something. They are just focused on the task at hand, and, we can have a meaningful exchange that doesn’t end like many of our other conversations do — with “fine” or “good.” It’s also become my most precious gateway into their thoughts.

For me, it gives me clarity, calmness and a chance to be mindful. I don’t think I would “schedule” mindfulness into my day had it not been for this game.

The kids love it. Maybe because it reminds them of circle time. Maybe it’s because they get to stay up 15 minutes later. I’m actually not quite sure why they like it so much. Surely, they haven’t read the research regarding the benefits of mindfulness so it has to be something else.

We usually pick a topic like, “What are you grateful for right now?” Sometimes, we focus on our deep breaths. Sometimes, we reflect on the day (best part, disappointing part, exciting part). Note: I am not a meditation teacher, but that’s OK, because I don’t have a complicated agenda.

Many times after they go to sleep, I continue to think about the topics we touched on. For example, when my daughter said the statement about being thankful for her grandparents, I started to feel gratitude. I thought about how thankful I was to be able to have children, a career and pursue my passions. I simply did not think that was all possible as a young medical student.

Since I have started playing this game with them, I have become more adept at practicing mindfulness in my day. I find myself using small moments to reflect, focus on my breath, etc.

The main impetus for starting this game stems from the fact that the benefits of mindfulness and meditation are no longer anecdotal. Scientific evidence proves that it lowers stress, and improves academic performance. It’s also shown to help people sleep better and protects against depression. That’s exactly what we all want for our kids — and ourselves.

I am convinced that the next generation will have to deal with more stress, more uncertainty and more crisis than we did, and we should arm them with any little tool that can help them cope with these pressures.

As said by Deepak Chopra, “People think meditation is a huge undertaking. Don’t think of it like that.”

It can be as simple as a kid’s game.

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