Little moments of Grace

Fred on the kitchen counter looking extra cute
Fred on the kitchen counter

When I first got sober, I worked very closely with a woman who’d been in AA for 5 years. She was a mentor (in the anonymous programs this person is called a sponsor). My husband and I had just bought a home, and were in the process of moving from married student housing at the university to our new home, and my sponsor showed up in the middle of this. She asked me how I was doing, and I’m sure that I said something like, “Fine”, but  I remember thinking, “I don’t have time for you right now. I have a million things to do!” Then she said something that I’ll never forget. She looked me in the eyes and said, “Don’t make this move like a drunk.”

I must have looked confused because she explained to me that the breathless rushing about, throwing things into boxes (to sort later), barking orders at others, and just being in a state of mini-frenzy and panic was how we lived when we were actively drinking. She went on to say that true sober behaviour was more thoughtful, quiet, and centered. She also said I’d get more done (which I sincerely doubted) if I would slow down, breath, and move without rushing.

We’ve all been in the presence of those who seem too busy to even notice us, and I dare say, we’ve all been the ones too busy to notice. Rushing, panic, and worry send signals to everyone around us (and even to the cells of our own bodies) that “something is wrong!”

How about taking this weekend to slow down (at least mentally), to breath, to appreciate ourselves and those beings around us, to love this little moment in time.

“Love by the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you eat. This world very much needs love.” Thich Nhat Hanh

39 thoughts on “Little moments of Grace”

  1. I think of Fred as the visual to the verbiage of this message. He is certainly a good reminder to slow down…pay attention. Sometimes we can’t imagine slowing down – “it won’t get done, let me do it all, I’ll just stay focused on this, etc….”

    We’ve actually missed out on quite a bit when we go about things that way. We certainly overlook any people or other objects or tasks in front of us.

    Some good things to think about for the week-end. For me thinking of and picturing Fred (and or more cats) will be good reminders.

    Thinking of you all this week-end (and many other times).

  2. I also often find myself in “a state of mini-frenzy and panic” which I blame on too much to do and never having enough time to get things done…how can that be so when everyone has the same amount of minutes and hours each day. When I slow down I feel lazy and unpproductive…perhaps the frenzy is a sort of high for me???
    I welcome the challenge to slow down this weekend and let love be what I show to others…
    Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend…Marian

  3. I love everything about this post this morning, Fred’s relaxed posture, your word, Mary and those of Thich Nhat Hanh. Slowing down to accomplish more sounds like a delicious recipe for peace.

  4. Thank you Mary!

    Speaking of grace…. my little black cat Simon who had been missing in northern Vermont since December 4th, was taken in by a lovely family on Christmas Eve, who thanks to our animal control officer, were able to match my phone number with a missing kitty report.

    Miraculously Simon is back home, painfully thin but with no other obvious signs of being on his own in winter weather where predators abound.

    We are looking forward to fattening him up and bringing out his Christmas presents which we had tearfully put away.

    Happy New Year to all of the WFFF.
    Love from Fran

    1. Fran, my heart just swelled upon hearing this wonderful news! Another missing animal safely home. Doesn’t get much better! Really happy for you all, and for Simon.

    2. Fran, what a wonderful gift to find Simon safe and sound. It’s amazing how cats can survive in the wild, more so than dogs. You must have been so relieved and overjoyed when you received the call that he was safe.
      SandyP in Canada

    3. A true Christmas story, loving and caring people returning a cherished cat to its rightful family

  5. Your sponsor was a wise woman! Thank you for sharing this Mary ~ I know it’s needed by many of us, and especially myself. One of my favorite sayings has always been “When you are too busy to spend time with your friends, then you are indeed too busy!” It is very apt ~ reminding us to simply take time for what is important. I cleaned and cleaned in preparation for my children’s visit and it was very good, but at the same time, if I would just get myself to do a little every week, so that I’m not overwhelmed when they come, I would enjoy the anticipation of a visit with my son and daughter! And I felt guilty if I went to have tea with a neighbor because I should be cleaning ….
    No, slow and steady will win out I think!

  6. Cause no harm comes to mind for me in frantic times..(glad to also be a sober person)…i wear my Bee Silent amulet w/a bee on it when i know i am stressed and silence would be better than what would come out of my mouth…my dearest wise person told me “just cause you think it doesn’t make it real” has also been a wise stop and think touchstone phrase…blessings

  7. Amazing GRACE! There is a lot of power (higher) in honestly, thank you for yours this beautiful day!

  8. What an inspiring post Mary. You’ve made me realize that we can be drunk on many things…drunk on anxiety, on fear, on perfectionism…all keeping us from enjoying the moment. How many times have I said to myself that a particular moment/event felt like a blur? Sometimes so blurry and fast it seems hard to even remember it. The holidays can seem a little like that…a blur…the things that kept me most grounded this Christmas were the hugs from loved ones…no matter how busy or frantic in the kitchen, when each arrived, we warmly shared a special Christmas hug…and in those few seconds of closing my eyes, breathing in and feeling the love for each other, it felt like all was right with the world. Love by the way you hug…

  9. My position at the hospital was eliminated a few weeks ago. In a sense, I was relieved because I’ve been feeling a need to slow down. There are so many things around my house that have been neglected for too long. I’m taking it one step at a time to take care of them. I’ve even spent an occasional day like Fred on the counter! Thanks for your thoughtful post!

  10. Good post, Mary. In retrospect, I think I’ve lived most of my life through ‘drunk behavior.’ Rushing here and there, always time-driven, always having to have the outer appearances close to perfect so the inner self could sit back. Wow. Exhausting.

    I am going to take this weekend and truly think before thinking and doing. I believe I will save myself some angst, free up some very ‘aware’ time, and maybe start a new habit….ridding myself of the panic.

    A blessed and slow weekend to all.

  11. Dear Mary, thank you for such a soft and sensitive reminder to slow down and enjoy each moment for what it has to offer. I think Fred’s relaxed position on the kitchen counter says it all! I hope your weekend is filled with peace and wonder.

  12. Thank you for your post today, Mary. It is both lovely and thoughtful, and I’m really trying to learn this lesson. Thanks again.

  13. Just yesterday in the Tiny Buddha, this quote was offered:

    “Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.” ~John De Paola

    I love the synchronicity of finding things like this, often on the same day as Mary’s posts. Love Simon and Garfunkel’s words: “Slow down, you move too fast, gotta make the morning last!” –

    Fred is the Poster Boy of “chill” – 🙂

  14. When I was working at my tiny com. college, a few people would say, “why don’t you slow down?” And my answer, silently or not, was, “Why don’t you speed up?” It’s taken 5-7 years to slow down without the demands of work and home. But home and life chores are always there & I think we can practice slowing down with whatever charms us, pets, hobbies, artistic creations, etc. Saw a quote the other day attributed to J.M. Barrie: “Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.” Ha! But true…good thoughts today by all; maybe we can peacefully usher in 2013….

  15. Actually, the first thing I thought of when I saw Fred stretched out on the counter was…’boy, that last glass of wine really did me in’.
    Juxtaposed with your message Mary, I couldn’t help it. Sorry…!
    In that one comment, your sponsor said a great deal. When the moment is right, the message is delivered.
    And my mindful experience this morning, following your message, was taken with me as I drove north through the country. Mother Nature has dropped a cloak of hoar frost over everything. The deciduous trees are particularly beautiful with a frosty white coating on every branch and as I drove past the Nottawasaga River, not big where we live but moving fast over the small rocks on the floor of the riverbed, I was reminded again, how often I drive past things and don’t take the time to appreciate what has been provided for me visually. It’s good to be reminded to slow down and look and see…and then, think of how fortunate we are to be able to do so.
    SandyP in frosty, foggy, Ontario, Canada

  16. Hi Mary and all WFF – I hope your Holiday Season has been happy and that each of us has a healthy and prosperous New Year ahead of us. Speaking of Amazing Grace, as some of you have, my 3 year old yellow Lab, “Amazing Grace”, gave us four black Lab puppies for Christmas. Born 12/8 – 12/9, they will be 3 weeks old tomorrow. This Christmas Miracle starts my New Year off in an Amazing way, thanks to Grace and her Higher Power. I am blessed.

    1. Wonderful, Mary Rita! What an affirmation of life to begin a new year! Blessings to your Lab mom, the pups and to you!

  17. Thank you Mary Muncil – and I will stop and slow down and appreciate – needed the reminder more than you know – and “will love this little moment in time” – Mary, on a hill and farm field near Cooperstown

    Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2012 13:01:03 +0000 To:

  18. Recently discovered your blog, Mary, from reading Jon Katz’s on FB. Thanks for the lovely writings which help me to put a sometimes crazy world into perspective!

  19. My daughter turned me on to your sight and after my first email from you, I can see why ! Thanks!

  20. Fred is awesome! The chaos,the frenzy, the drama. Those are the “isms” that can still rear their ugly heads. We learn one day at a time to make the “isms” the “wasms”. Happy Holidays, Cindy

  21. Thank you Mary. I will slow down, breath and try to be more centered this weekend. I too love to see your kitchen wall and all the things you have surrounding sweet Fred. You are truly creative. Have a great New Year’s flock.

  22. I often come back to a post to read the comments, which are as meaningful to me as the original post by Mary…which is to say a lot! Watching a lovely, gentle snowfall from my window this morning as I look forward to the day, filled with making soup, bread and a fresh apple cake. I’ve never done well being rushed (and to the extent possible, refuse to be!) and this post is a reminder of why I feel that way. I need to be fully present to enjoy all the blessings around me, and to remember to be a blessing to others with my attention to them. Happy New Year to all.

  23. This was a wonderful post,Mary. But I have to say,my favorite part was the picture of Fred on the kitchen counter and that you aren’t ashamed to show the world that you “live” with your furry beings.

  24. When I first saw this post the message had not yet appeared. I absolutely loved the picture of Fred relaxing on the counter but remember thinking how much I missed your words. Felt like I had been rewarded when I logged on today and read your wonderful post. As I prepare to help my granddaughter with moving into her first apartment these words were just what I needed. The years have helped me slow down and I will definitely take the time to savor the moments of being present for this very big step in her life.

  25. Susan A. – The Black Lab puppies are named: “Geraldine”, after Flip Wilson’s character; Rudi (Rudolf); Bubba Gump; and Mr. Big. They are just 3 weeks old.

    1. Psst, Geraldine. Remember when you get caught doing or chewing the wrong thing, channel Flip’s wisdom: with those big, brown eyes at their most innocent, say “The devil made me do it!!!” (Then spin in circles—woooo.)

  26. Just found this post dated on my youngest daughter’s birthday.. She is a wonderful example of your quote, “Love by the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you eat. This world very much needs love.” Thich Nhat Hanh…… I am a work in progress..;) Thank you and Happy New Year Mary and all!

  27. “A picture is worth a thousand words”–this one of Fred reminds me of how much our pets teach us about many things but especially– how to be in the moment—which requires me to slow down. I think I have resisted doing so after 70+ years of rushing about. But as I begin to learn from my Bella (kitty kat), slowing down and pausing more–I notice more of the little things and, best of all, find pleasure & joy in them. I am so grateful for this lesson–and the years of learning. As we complete this year, Mary, I wish you and all your readers a most joyous New Year 2013.

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