I made a promise yesterday that I would spend some time this week being focused on being more aware of my environment. I made that promise to Lance, our friend who comments here, and who is the author of a wonderful blog called the The Jungle of Life. If you haven’t met Lance or read his blog yet, I would encourage you to stop by and say hello and check it out. His Aug 25th Post What Are We Missing? was very inspiring and provoked me to spend the entire day yesterday as I went about my daily round with my eyes more in tune with my environment and the world around me.
Lance is right. So often I am rushing through the world, list in hand, time clicking by with less time than list available. As I cross things off, I am often aware that what I am mostly missing is more time. More time to get everything done that I want to get done, More time to spend with my kids, more time to spend with my grandchildren , more time to just talk, more time to relax.
Yesterday was my daughter’s last day before the start of a new school year. There was plenty to do. It was also the day of driving her and my grandchildren to their activities. It was also grocery shopping day. One would think I could have picked a more interesting day to accept Lance’s challenge then the humdrum tasks of a housewife’s errand day.
Then I realized it was the perfect day. The type of day that I might just normally exist in because there is nothing extraordinary about it at all. Nothing to look forward to besides an endless task list that will never see the bottom of the page. If I could keep my eyes focused on my surroundings and my environment and the world at large during errand day, I could do it every day.
The challenge was on.
The first observation hit me square between the eyes before I left my living room. In the quiet room where I do my planning, journaling and reading, I sat making out my lists for the days errands. Taking a moment to look, eyes alert and and asking…”What am I missing? ” My eyes settled on to the area on top of our Piano. Over time, it has become a hot spot of homeless Nick knacks and half melted candles that had worn out their welcome in more attractive areas of the home. Rather than the cosy cottage look that the piano once sported it now looked like the last refuge before the dumpster.
Had I not seenthis before? I suppose the gathering had been happening over time, one Nick knack at a time until the accumulation had reached critical mass. I just hadn’t noticed it. Needless to say, the entire mismatched collection has found it’s new home in the dumpster and goodwill pile and there is now one very nice vase gracing the top of the piano.
Had that been the extent of the experiment, I would have considered it a smashing success. I am not a fan of sneaky clutter. It however, is a fan of me and anything that helps me get rid of it is a huge win!
Onward and outward into the day, my daughter and I went about our shopping. I made it a point to be aware of the perfect blue sky, the gentle breeze and temperature that hovered in the mid seventies, crisp and clean. I rolled down the car window and took the time to slow down and really enjoy it. There won’t be very many of those days left before the Midwest winds come rushing through the trees removing the leaves from their branches.
I made it a point to be fully present. To fully listen to my daughter as she talked to me rather than just checking off lists in my mind. We laughed and chatted and had a very nice day and somehow the time, which there never seems to be enough of, felt as if it was slowing down for us to enjoy our last day together. A gift. Same chores, yet done with more awareness, turned into a gift with each other.
Soon it was time to take her and my granddaughter to their class and to pick up my grandson. I watch him on Wednesdays for a few hours. The challenge was to spend that time being fully aware at the grocery store with him.
I realized after a few minutes in the store with him that I had never paid attention to being in the store with him before at all. In the past I had just ran in quickly and ran right back out. He tagged along quietly because he is a well behaved awesome little kid who causes no trouble. It’s easy to ignore a little guy like that. So yesterday I SLOWED DOWN. I strolled. I asked him questions. I asked him what he liked, what his favorite foods were, what he didn’t like, what he was thinking about going to school today, and he told me. We had a chat. A nice long chat. He helped me put some things in the cart, he helped me find a few things I was looking for. We had a good time. As we turned the corner by the check out counter, he said, Oh Grandma Wendi, look at those beautiful red and purple and pink flowers. They would be beautiful in your kitchen.”
I turned and looked at them. He was right. The flowers were stunning and I had walked right past them. I put them in my cart. Flowers for Grandma Wendi from my grandson.
Works for me. They are beautiful in the kitchen. The boy has a good eye.
At night before bed, John and I took a glass of wine out to the jacuzzi and sat outside and enjoyed the last official night of summer before the kids go back to school. The last night before school routines and homework and early bedtimes. I leaned my head back, took a deep breath and breathed in the cool night air. I thought about the day and all I had noticed and how just the simple fact of being more aware had slowed down time and made the day more enjoyable and made the interactions with family more fun. I looked up at the sky and found it filled with bright shining stars.
I sat for awhile and just watched them as if I had all the time in the world. Peaceful and relaxed. I made a mental note to tell Lance thank you for a really great day.
Thanks Lance. You made a difference.
So now I am passing on Lance’s challenge to all of you. Take the time to go out and be fully aware. Fully focused. See what you have been missing. If you feel like it, let us know what it was like. Tell us here or write about it!
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