My journal pages this week are filled with thoughts about paradise. My no-thought, gut response to the idea of paradise is a white sand beach surrounded by sparkling turquoise water, where I have no worries and can luxuriate in the warm sun and listen to the sounds of gentle waves swashing on the beach and palm fronds rustling in the wind.
But a novelist I adore said the following, and she’s made me rethink everything:
If I had my own religion, it would be this: that we are in paradise. And the question is whether or not we can see it.– Ann Patchett on Kate Bowler’s Everything Happens podcast
This is the best motivation for mindfulness I’ve heard. The world we live in has everything we need.
Right now I look out the window and see pear trees fluffy with white flowers. I see yellow and orange pansies in my flower baskets. I hear the riotous chatter of morning birds as the sun comes up. I know my plants are starting to wake up to life. Paradise isn’t just a white sand beach with turquoise water lapping the shore; it’s also out my window. It’s in my garden. It’s in the love I have for my children and husband and family and friends, and that they have for me. It’s in the bumblebee stumbling drunkenly through the air. It’s in Mary Oliver’s poetry. It’s in the deep thoughts that people have and share, in the art they create, in the meaning and purpose we find in our lives. Paradise is in the soft pink of the sun rising below the morning clouds.