Just before dinner we ventured to Riverside Park in Little Rock Arkansas. A hot summer storm gave way to what promised to be a spectacular sunset. We climbed to the upper level of the vertical lift bridge to take it all in: the Mindful Family meets Sunset.
The sky play was something to behold. The bridge, dripping in fresh rain wash, sparkled around us. The sun in the west hit clouds in the east creating mirrored color and glow. A double rainbow dipped down just over downtown. If you listen to a rising or setting sun, there is a lot to hear. The boys were restless: they'd spotted a cave in the park below, but I asked them to linger a little longer. Color swelled all around us. I explained how special it all was: for someone who holds a space for the sunrise most mornings, this air show was a world apart.
At dinner (The Flying Fish) I offered up a mood check: a chance to allow each person to share how they're feeling and how the world is occurring for them in the moment. This is a practice we've learned from our colleagues at Dorrier Underwood and one I use often at the Crow Collection with our teams. This practice invites loving speech and deep listening: two mindfulness trainings I studied at Plum Village earlier this summer. With some competition from the television in the restaurant we managed to carry the practice to all four of us.
Next I asked them to help us create the standards we could expect for our time together in this Mindful Road Trip. I asked how we want to be with each other. Here are the ten things we came up with as we rotated to each person in the circle:
1. Think about what we do before we do it and not hurt other people.
2. Parents should have fun with us. Like play on the playground.
3. Pray at every meal.
4. Everyone shares in the work: everyone participates in the fun stuff and the hard stuff.
5. Greet our friends when we see them with a hug or a handshake.
6. Daddy goes on the morning walks. (if you know Scott this is very humorous)
7. Love each other.
8. Limited complaining (this was revised from "no complaining")
9. You are 100% responsible.
10. Don't argue.
I tucked the list away and smiled to myself. From the mouths of babes. We moved onto to conversations about the trip, the dozens of Billy Bass on the wall and how quickly we'd found ourselves in a new world exploring Little Rock. Travel is amazing, Baker said. Suddenly baskets of fried oysters, hush puppies, shrimp po boys and french fries appeared on our table: a welcome sight after a long day of work and travel. The list, long forgotten, sat in my purse. I started to take a bite and glanced at Edward. He sat, patiently with his hands together.
Mommy! It's time to pray!
Yes, Edward it most certainly is.