I can’t say enough about the power of Presence. Living life Awake, with Focus and Attention ~ missing nothing even if the week, the day, the moment is courted by chaos.
We experienced quite a bit of rain recently ~ which was a blessing, as we went a long time WITHOUT rain, and the grass and gardens were suffering a bit as a result.
Imagine my surprise yesterday morning when I went outside to wish a Good Morning to all my thriving plants ~ only to discover my Mint Pot about to expire. I was shocked. The dirt was almost brick hard, the plants had wilted beyond description – I feared they had died, or were steps away from doing so.
I immediately soaked the dirt until the slightest of puddles formed on the surface. I then moved the pot into a shadier location – and hoped for the best. To my delight (and wonder) ~ the plant was vibrant and beautiful WITHIN HOURS. What a remarkable recovery!
Lesson for me: Sometimes all we need is a good drink of water and a more conducive change of scenery for our Resilience to kick in and lift us back to magnificence.
Earlier this week, a few friends and I got together to discuss a book we all recently read – and LOVED.Â The Library Journal wrote, “Curling up with this autobiography will refresh readers’ souls and adjust their attitudes” – and I have to say, this was true for me. The author is warm, friendly, honest, vulnerable and open. What separates this beautiful journey, for me, from others I have read in a similar vein is the ‘realness’ of it. In places, Joan (the author) is raw ~ so broken in places that she’s not quite sure WHERE to begin or what to do to allow healing to emerge. Yet something inside of her pushes her on – reminds her that she’s in there, somewhere … and over the course of this one year, Joan learns to engage with life again in ways meaningful to her, and impresses herself along the way.
This was more than just a great read for me. I learned a few things – got to see myself in ways that surprised me, considering all the self-work I’ve done over the decades. Two things stood out most for me – and they are this: there is a danger in spending too much time inside your head. Choosing ‘words’ to represent a year or values to live by is only the beginning ~ and is rendered ineffective if not immediately followed by action and movement of some kind. Behaviour change is often the missing link for people on journeys like this – it’s important to watch for this in my own Self, and to ensure that I’m Walking the Think as well.
Also, this: I assume, presume and determine outcomes in advance of things actually happening way more than I thought I did. The danger in this behaviour is that you always draw to you the reality you prepare for – because in many ways, you’re creating that outcome from the outset with preconceived notions, beliefs and judgements; a self-fulfilling prophecy. This learning goes hand in hand with the first one. It’s easy to know what you’d like to change ~ harder to believe that it’s actually possible to do. We put too much power outside of ourselves – assuming others will react to our changes in ways that may or may not be true or fair.
In this book, I marvelled at the number of times I heard myself saying, in my head, to something Joan did that worked out beautifully, “Oh, that would never work out that way for me. How lovely for her that others in her life are adjusting to her ebbs and flows in ways that allow them to remain a part of her life.” I’d then confront that in-my-head voice with, ‘how do you KNOW that wouldn’t work for you? When did you last give someone the opportunity to impress you with a response outside of your limited expectations?’ (I can be harsh when annoyed.)
At the end of the day – this book woke me up in places I wasn’t aware I’d been slumbering ~ and I’m so grateful for the experience.
I’ve recently began reading Exploring the Roots of Photography, a beautifully written e-book from my friend and fellow contemplative Kim Manley Ort. In the introduction, Kim writes “Photography can be a tool for creating art, for self-expression, and for meditation.” The first chapter speaks to using the camera as a tool for cultivating Wonder ~ and then asks reflective questions to help the reader see the world around them differently; the nuance of light, colour, texture and more. While in many cases, it’s important to ‘call a thing a thing’ — it is also equally important, at times, to see through what is presenting to its essence and the way it meets the world.
I was thinking about all of this as I was watering the front garden last night. I listened to the sounds around me more actively than usual. I paid attention to what I was doing and wondered when Wonder might show up in a way I’d recognize. Suddenly, I noticed the way the water droplets were individually falling from the hose to meet the flowers below. It was beautiful. I dashed off to get my camera and tried to capture the Wonder of what I’d experienced in that one, Magical moment. The light, the texture, the beauty, the give and the receive, the splash and the soak. I’m going to enjoy this journey of Eye as Camera Lens.
Life isn’t always pretty, people aren’t always kind, things don’t always go my way. This is all manageable, however, as long as I hold Magic in my heart – and actively seek out the Beauty and the Wonder that also exists. Like, raindrops on roses, for instance …
[Note: If you’re interested in following up on Kim’s ebook – it’s available as a free PDF document, and all you have to do to receive it is sign up to receive inspiration and blog updates to your email. Click here for more info, if interested.]