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This morning I felt the cool air chill my body as I walked to my car. It was still dark, barely twilight at 5:45am and the thermometer read just 53 degrees. This prevue of seasonal change struck me as I set out on this morning’s commute. First a small, but; striking splash of red leaves across a backdrop of forest green, then an enormous flock of birds traveling in a southwest direction.

As I entered the city, I saw flocks of a different kind, youngsters gathered on sidewalks and street corners. Then a school bus with flashing yellow lights and a big red stop sign. It was like a neon sign announcing the beginning of the new school year.

The stop sign reminder of the mindfulness practice S.T.O.P.

S.T.O.P. is an acronym for:

S top and pause

T ake a few deep breaths

O bserve what is in this moment.

P roceed

What a nice reminder. As I paused, I could hear the voice of a meditation teacher, “mindful meditation is the practice of beginning again, over and over”.

I settled in and connected with my body for a few deep breaths. I let go of the busyness of my mind and observed what was in this one moment. I had a rich sense of awareness that with each moment comes an opportunity to begin again a fresh start like going back to school. In each moment and with each breath, we are re-created, fresh, free from the past and un-enslaved to the future.

The practice helps me see I have a choice on how I proceeded on my journey. I chose a renewed sense of ease and joy in my heart.

Suggested Meditation Practice

For the next few minutes let your awareness settle on your breath. Notice the expansion and contraction of your body as you breathe. What is here for you in this new breath? Letting go of the past and worrying about the future, see this one moment as a new beginning.

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