Living in the Northwest, I have developed a new relationship with sunshine. You see, I grew up in Texas, where we had more sunny, hot days than I could appreciate. But now, I consider sunshine to be a rare and precious commodity.

When I was a kid on our family ranch in West Texas, we had the exact opposite problem as we do here in Portland, Oregon. We had plenty of blue sky days, but a big shortage of rain. I can still hear my Abuelito’s (Grandfather’s) deep voice saying grace, “Lord, thank you for this food and please send us some rain.” The next day would bring a reminder: “Lord, we still need rain, thanks.”

The dry dusty high desert of Southwest Texas might only get a sparse 10 to 15 inches of rain per year (compared to a generous 40  inches here in Oregon). I can promise you that my Abuelito stood outside, took off his hat and praised the sky for every drop of rain that fed his cattle and crops.

This morning I was reminded of my Abuelito’s pure enjoyment of rain during Nia dance class. For a rare moment, the sun broke out of the heavy cloud cover and shone through the windows of the classroom.  A loud communal holler broke out from the dancers as we were immersed in golden light. Our energy rose, appreciating the joy of the moment.

We might not get much sun here in the Northwest, but we know how to pause and enjoy it when we do.

What feels rare and important in your life right now? Maybe it is time to nurture yourself or it might be time to connect with your  family or loved ones. Perhaps you don’t get many creative bursts these days or not enough sleep, exercise, adventure…the list could go on and on.

Whatever it is for you, I challenge you to learn from my Abuelito. When you do find that rare moment, that precious beam of sunlight, immerse yourself in it with deep appreciation. I promise that you will get more from ten minutes of being fully present than you will get from ten hours of barely noticing.