There are always lessons. It requires paying attention. For me, it means looking up, gazing down, and breathing in the present. In the last month, the cadence of life beats slow and its allowed me to digest the rhythm around me. Since it is summer, I’ve spent many of my days with my 7- year-old girl. It is true what they say about 7. It is a magical age littered with pleasure in the simple things.

A few days ago, we ventured to the local Dave & Busters, the mecca arcade and game place for little and big kids. My daughter loves collecting tickets. With each punch, press, touch, she laughed, got excited and kept looking at the mouth of the game to see how many tickets would spill out. Her eyes filled with wonder and she sank her whole self in the emotion. Later that day, I confessed to my husband that it was amazing how acquiring tickets at the arcade could induce so much joy. Happiness comes in the most mundane and ordinary beats.

On our way home, we listened to Phillip Phillips album as she belted out the lyrics to Home. We were both dancing and singing and I not only caught her smile in my mirror, but I also felt my own mouth turning to corner of joy. You know those moments, when everything beats as it should? There is no other thought but the one that is happening as you are experiencing it. I thought to myself, this is what constitutes living in the present.

The weekend pace also has slowed here. I can name countless afternoons where the three of us crawled into our bed, grabbed our respective books, and read together. Even though quiet surrounded us, I sensed a texture to this time. One filled with no complexities, but with clarity. The three of us after reading dozed into an afternoon nap. I caught myself waking up early and watching my daughter breathe. Observing how her chest moved up and down, I felt grateful witnessing the peace that glistened on her face. Another moment where I felt myself engaged with what was right in front of me.

The simple life. It means clenching and grasping and paying attention to whatever is in front of you.

My 7-year- old taught me that lesson this summer.

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