the space to find ourselves anew
by Wendy Keller
In the frenzy of human activity, human noise and human responsibilities, it is easy to lose ourselves. It’s easy to disconnect from nature and the beauty all around us and focus only on the next task or the next crisis.
I noticed an old palm tree today near my home. I’ve never seen that tree before in my life! It wasn’t planted overnight. How could I have passed it so many times without ever seeing it?
I began to wonder how many other things am I missing? As I took my familiar walk, I chose to look for things I’ve never seen before. I was astonished! There’s entire faded yellow apartment building; a patio with two bright pink umbrellas; and a home that is partly demolished and falling to ruin. Why did I never notice the graceful Spanish-style arches over that garage? Has that family always had the life-sized bronze hog on their deck? And why?
As I walked further, I began to think about the things I miss inside myself because I’m so busy getting somewhere else. What are the instant judgments I make about my Self, other people and the world?
I saw a fat woman riding a racing bike, most of her hanging off either side of the thin seat. My mind instantly had an unkind thought. I saw a handsome man and I had another kind of judgment. I heard a woman walking down the bike path singing at the top of her lungs to her iPod. Three men speaking Russian sped past me in their matching cyclist uniforms. I felt myself judging myself for judging the things I saw.
At the far end of the path, I sat down and listened to nature, the bustle of humanity all around me, and the sound of my own breathing.
Ever so slowly, I remembered that I am part of everything and everything is a part of me. We live in a biosphere – an enclosed space where we are interdependent on the others and on the environment to sustain us.
When I listen only to the internal crazy-making voice telling me what I should be doing instead, or judging me for my own thoughts and actions, I move further from the center of who I am and what I can contribute to the world. By watching the endless spiral of words in my brain, I can come to peace and focus on What Is in the moment I am in right now. I can find myself and the space between thoughts to love myself and my world.