Who Sets YOUR Priorities?

by | Jun 1, 2021 | Blog | 0 comments

The other day, my spouse and I were driving down a busy 4-lane road, and we were in a hurry to get some place important. Then we saw a mama duck with many small ducklings trying to get across the street. Kim pulled over and we both hopped out to stop 4 lanes of traffic so mama duck could get across with all her ducklings. The last one had some kind of injury so it took a very, very long time for all of them to make it across.

I completely forgot that I had another appointment.

I completely forgot that anything could have been more important than this mama duck and her babies.

In truth, I can’t think of a single thing that happened that day that was more important or more satisfying than supporting the ducks in moving safely across the street.

A few weeks ago I read something that reminded me that I am often in the midst of magnificence and I forget to enjoy it. Like standing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and fretting about whether we are going to be able to hike to the top in the amount of time we allotted. Or walking in our nature center– one of my favorite places – and feeling impatient with people who walk slower than I do. Or, when my beautiful, sweet cat walks in the room chattering to me and I feel disappointed because I was trying to listen to an On Being Podcast by Krista Tippett.

What is most important? Who sets my priorities?

I love Krista Tippett’s title, “On Being,” because it so aptly expresses the aspect of myself that I want to nurture into greater expression. I want to spend more time enjoying the moment rather than worry about what comes next. I want to be fully present and enjoy the words of another rather than crafting my response. To remember to use time as a strategy rather than a need. To embody in my actions and in mybeing my deep reverence and appreciation for Life.

I want to choose actions that match my deeper priorities and values more often.

I’m very good at ‘getting things done.’ This is a long-developed way of being. This aspect of me does not need practice. The being part of me needs daily and multi-daily reminders and regular practices.

I accept this.

And, every now and then, a mama duck comes along and with no effort or practice I am instantly called to the moment and to my deeper priorities. I am grateful for her and all the beings who are my teachers.

I’d like to close this with a moment of silence. Will you join me? Let’s take the next 60 seconds and hold the people in India and Brazil in the warmth of our hearts that they may experience healing from the COVID 19 surges they are enduring. And let us also hold the people in Israel and Palestine to our hearts that they may experience peace and relief from the war they are engaged in.

May we all know that we matter and that we are love.


Last month, I talked a bit about my garden and I have continued to nurture it. Here’s a picture of it as of today. Many of the seedlings are yet to poke through. When I catch my inner voice telling me that I am not doing it right or good enough, I pause and offer a bit of self-empathy with a voice that is sweet like one who strokes a cat: “Oh, Mary, you really care about these plants, don’t you? I love it when I nurture things that matter to me.” This is one of my daily practices that I use to stay in the present moment.

By Mary Mackenzie

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