Snow fell overnight and left a white covering on the trees and roads. I was informed by my significant other that it was very slippery outside, and to be careful when I left the house to drive to the gym.

I was immediately aware of a rise in my anxiety. My thoughts were on the slippery roads and the images in my mind were of various scenarios of traffic tragedies. My day had barely started and I was already imagining myself sliding off of the road into a ditch. This train of thought continued to build as I imagined my adult children also ending up in accidents as they drove off to their destinations of work and school.

These thoughts are my worst enemy and getting control over them is the essence of my attempts at practicing mindfulness and living a more peaceful existence.

I focused my attention to the outside and looked at the snow. Really looked at it, and saw what was presenting itself to me to be seen.  I became acutely aware of the beauty outside my window. I allowed myself to be guided into a moment of full intentional awareness. I became focused on the clean white snow covering the branches of the trees in the distance. Several little birds were busily hopping around the feeder that is hanging from my deck.  I watched them eat, noticing their swift movements, distinct colors and markings, and I identified each species…junko, carolina wren, brown house finch, redheaded woodpecker and my favorite little bird, a chickadee.

In these few moments, being acutely aware and fully focused on what was directly in front of me, my thoughts of looming disasters dissipated and the feeling of anxiety drifted away.  This moment of mindfulness was a moment of absolute beauty and utter peace. This is what I want more of in my life. And these moments are always there for the taking. This is the magic of being aware of being alive, present and with all things accounted for. All the things that are here in this very moment.

So, in a few moments this morning, my thoughts took me on a journey that went from snow to imagined disaster, and then my awareness brought me back to see the snow and a menagerie of birds at a banquet.

Where there was anxiety over the imagined, there is now joy and gratitude for this very moment, the only one that is truly real.

Mindfulness and breath. Breath and presence. Presence and acute awareness. Wishing all you lovely beings this gift today.