I was talking with some friends yesterday about how our drive for getting things *done* sometimes makes our awareness of needs–and blessings–in front of us sorely lacking. The problem is that as often as we push past cultivating awareness of our surroundings (and the people in them), that God-given sense of ours becomes dull. Really, we ought to be sobered when something happens and we say in response and astonishment, “I had no idea….it was out of the blue…” Most things are probably not in those categories at all. Usually, there were inklings, if not downright pushes….but we lost our sense of awareness when we disparaged that to either hold up the almighty *check list* or to lose our minds into the ether of too much entertainment or gadgets. Furthermore, we don’t trust our awareness of things anyway. It’s not something we can photograph; it’s nebulous. It’s not even something we can practice or meditate on for five minutes and then move on to our more (we think) rational part of our brain and day.
How aware are you?
Do you sense when something is awry with your marriage? Your children? Your pet dog? Do you notice when the sparrows return, when the bread is leavened, when that guy at the market makes you feel just a wee bit creepy?
I think awareness is important to having a life made out of meaning, not just minutes.
Two things have helped me to build awareness in my own life, and continue to do so. Maybe they would help you, too?
1. My garden, and living in the woods. I can sit fascinated by the breeze fluttering the alder leaves, casting shadows and light, sparkling in the sunshine. I enjoy listening to the variety of birds that return in the spring, trying to name them, to own them in my heart. Enjoying creation is one way to build awareness.
2. My camera, sketchbook, and journal. Trying to frame a photograph, trying to capture the feeling that evokes joy or peace or wonder…it can’t help but cause me to slow down, pay attention. I find the same is true when I am photographing my kids. Similarly, writing two or three pages in my journal causes me to dig deeper, to ponder and turn things over in my mind. Sketching does the same, utilizing other areas of my brain, encouraging me to see differently.
So, how about a quick tour around my place? These are some outside things I’ve noticed lately. I bet if you grabbed your camera or sketchbook and took a walk around your house, you’d find things to wonder about and grow your sense of awareness too.
…around my kitchen garden….
…in the barnyard….
….and in the front pasture, a treehouse is going up…
I feel like I’ve been MIA in my blog lately, but I’m still here and hope to share more with you soon. I see you, dear faithful (and persistent!) readers, and I miss you, too.