This may be challenging for many of you, particularly those who live a very busy life, the Type A personality. I hate to admit this to you, but in effort to get really real with you, I'll confess that I am two driving tickets away from a felony: Habitual Offender. My third decade was filled with career achievements, improving benchmark #statistics, earning graduate degrees, and raising children as I raced from birth to birth wearing my midwifery hat. I picked up a few speeding tickets along the way. When I saw the sirens, admittedly, I really never did feel like I was driving too fast. In fact, I felt restricted by the state mandated speeding limit. I was a very safe driver. I had never been in a collision. I had important things to get done and not enough time in the day.
When I left my busy practice in search of #balance in my life, in search of healing, it seemed a no-brainer that #massage might be therapeutic to my taxed body and mind. It was torture for me. I couldn't lay still long enough. I couldn't #silence my mind. I still had a million things to do and laying on that massage table was way too far from productivity to feel safe. When I started #talktherapy, I initially met with a therapist who was kind and in hind-sight figured out my major struggles right away, she probably even had a perfectly appropriate plan for my healing, but she talked and processed information way too slow for me to sit one more hour in her office. I chose the gal who processed information more at my speed, who could speak quickly so I could get back to my verbal unloading, and the gal who offered both #EMDR and #adventuretherapy. We would walk trails and she would counsel.
We didn't just stroll though. I was always on a #mission. I was walking to count steps, engage my gluteus, and to burn calories while I processed #trauma. This was about multi-tasking. I had no ability to slow-down. Somewhere along the way though, I started to notice. I found some meditative moments in my solo walks. I began to breathe and really look at the trees, the budding flowers, and I allowed myself to feel the #dirt beneath my feet. I allowed myself to get distracted from from the goal of reaching any particular destination. This only happened in small bits initially, but then matured over time. I noticed the more I talked in therapy, the more I #journaled, the more time I spent in nature, and the lighter my foot became on the gas pedal. I started to relax enough that I could even let myself be creative. I began to watercolor.
If you can, spend thirty minutes taking a 5-minute-walk. Look far. Look close. What might you see with the luxury of time? Take pictures. Fill your instagram page with the beauties you've discovered along the path. Carry a journal. If #drawing or #writing doesn't come naturally, just start documenting the date and weather. What new discoveries do you find on your path? What never goes away? Does deliberately noticing change your perspective? Did you know that many Buddists will share that #Buddism is just to see. That's all. Just see. Did you know that mushroom hunters talk all the time about how mushrooms go completely unnoticed. Most people simply don't see them. After that first mushroom pops into your eye though, others become easier to see. Your eyes are ready; your mind is open.
Have you seen those pictures of words or names made of letters photographed from architectural structures or shadows? This is an exercise in paying attention. As soon as you see something, you intellectualize it and your brain boxes in what you see. Imagine if we could remove our brain and just see with our eyes. Could you describe yourself in detail? Do you really know the width of your eyes, the size of your lips, the height of your forehead? Consider that you have never seen yourself from any other perspective than that of a mirror. You haven't seen yourself sleep, or even belt into laughter. You haven't seen yourself cry. You really haven't any awareness of your own beauty.
Might you sit and really evaluate the details of your own face? Focus on a single body part; linger in the three-way mirror. Take plenty of selfies. Hold your phone out and just shoot. Don't aim. Don't adjust the lightening. Maybe even close your eyes. Don't analyze. Just shoot. Let your camera show you beauty you might have overlooked, but is there a more judgmental word than "beautiful?"
Have you ever considered that most animals roam the earth looking down while adult humans are looking up? Ever realize how children are always noticing the details? We sort of assume this is because they are in discovery stages, but might this be their perspective? They are small and closer to the ground. They delight in the small and inconspicuous and because we are large and look up, we see the whole and not the parts. We look too hastily. Might we work to recapture that magical feeling? What might you discover in nature that delights you? Look at the world as if you are an artist, seeing it for the first time.
When you share your truths, do you use the same simple, familiar words or might you consider finding new words to describe what you see? Many, many years ago I heard that you can't experience emotions beyond your vocabulary which was a harsh thought for me, so I've always collected words. Just a few: Coddiwomple. Latibule. Ultracrepidarian. Aliferous. Rame. Melliflous. Oenomel. Nepenthe. Sombremesa. Saudade. Ceraunophilia. Antistalking. Sophrosyne. Majime. Masturdating. Fernweh. Chairdrobe. Claircognizance. Komorebi. Nonversation. Nexterday. Tidsoptimist. Bedgasm. Zemblanity. Petrichor. Bitchraft. Shoshin. Lisztomania. Dinkum. Impish. Gheegle. Tacenda.
Look at nature in the rain. Look closer. Look for the overlooked. Pick a single spot and look again. Let someone else lead the way. Follow a stranger. Look until you find your authentic self.