Journaling has been my major form of meditation for over forty years. Often when I can’t sleep, I get up, sit in my favourite chair, drink a cup of warm milk and write down the thoughts racing through my mind. I journal what has happened in the past or might happen in the future. I call prayer meditation.

In today’s world, we have a new word, “mindfulness,” awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations as they happen. Meditation in contrast, is time out from life’s chaos. One sets aside a special time to consider what has happened or might happen. We don’t need a special time-out for mindfulness.

Our bible offers a third word, pondering: “Mary pondered these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) She pondered the event, when unknown shepherds visited immediately after her son’s birth. B,J. Miller-McLemore identifies pondering as “Keeping thoughts at the core of one’s being.” Mary ponders again after Jesus is found. He’d been lost in Jerusalem for three days. It doesn’t sound as if she has set aside time for this process. It sounds as if she is pondering in the midst of her life. She is doing something akin to mindfulness. She’s not only living in the moment but keeping the moment in her heart.

We can learn from Mary. Our lives are busy. Few of us are flush with extra time to fill with meditation. We can ponder what happens as it happens. We can practice mindfulness and pondering. More and more research is telling us to live in the moment. We used to say “stop and smell the roses.” Whatever words we use, Mary is telling us to be aware of what is happening now. Let go of worry about the past or the future. Instead take time to listen to your bodily feelings, to soak in the joy or sorrow of each moment and hold it, record it in your heart..

This past week my Vancouver grandchildren and my great grandson Riley gathered at my kitchen counter for their first experience of making whipped cream. I watched. I rejoiced. I pondered the event in my heart. Three children from two different families drew together as one family, finding joy in such a simple act. Our blended and blending family, at least at that moment, was truly one. It could have been just another activity, just another mess to clean up. It flew by so quickly, yet that event will remain in my heart always.




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