FINDING GOODNESS IN THE MIDST OF DIFFICULTY – DAY 4
When we are able to choose what we notice, the quality of our attention (and the attitude we bring to it) can transform an experience.
It’s like the difference between ‘awful’ and ‘AWE-full’.
I remember as a child of about 4 getting a jam jar and filling it with soil and worms to post to my granny. Worms were just so amazing and wonderful. They felt so nice and slippery and smooth and they squirmed and wriggled and I loved them. (These days I approach a worm with a rather different attitude, but I’m working on that!)
AWE is “the rapt attention and deep emotion caused by the sight of something extraordinary”.
Today’s invitation is to see if it’s possible to adopt a childlike attitude to the stuff around you that normally goes unnoticed. The extraordinary in the ordinary – bugs in the garden can be a good place to start. Previous students have been inspired to rapt fascination by:
• The green seeds on strawberries
• The dust inside flowers
• The hum bumblebees make
• Reflections of the clouds on water
• The dog’s eyelashes
• The smell of blossom on a warm evening
• Bubbles in gin and tonic
The neutral stuff in life (the stuff that’s not dangerous, or difficult) goes unnoticed, because there’s no need to watch out in fear of the harm it might cause. Consequently the goodness of many beautiful moments goes missing. But we can choose to fold those moments back in. Little and often is best – the same as learning to do anything new. Bit by bit, you build the muscle of noticing the wonder of life in your back garden. After just a few weeks it starts to become almost instinctive. You have grown the good inside yourself.
Wishing you an AWE-full day!
Mary Oliver: The summer day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around
with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention,
how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
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