Sunday, May 20, 2012

Stop Look Notice

One of the (many) lessons that arrived (for me) with life experience
was the awareness & understanding that each day arrives and departs
"never to be lived again"

Initially that awareness distressed me. Profoundly.
Tho it wasn't news to the universe
or a concept I'd never considered
it arrived at mid-life as a point of reference
that I was foolhardy to ignore.

I felt immediately obligated even perhaps stressed
to layer even more
into my already frenetic days on the farm.

Exhausted, stressed and vexed it (eventually) occurred to me
that greater happiness was awaiting me 
not in greater quantity but deeper quality.
I came to understand that life was unfolding hour by hour
and the choice lay not in how much I could accomplish in each day
but rather how much I could - or would - choose to enjoy
within each moment of each day.

In other words, Live smaller

A phrase found often in financial advice and ecologic terms.
But I believe it applies to time also.
At least it does for me.....

My efforts to alter my perception and habits
 began as most do,  rather stintedly lol
Tho it was sometimes impossible, any day I could I reduced
my 'must do' list (which incidentally drove me insane initially)
That provided the window of time to
stop, look notice
to improve the quality of life
(akin to stop, drop and roll for fire)

When grocery shopping I forced myself to notice
the colors in the produce aisle
the artwork on the boxes.
(I admit, I was exceedingly self conscious,
& hoping no one noticed me standing & staring lol)

Hanging up laundry I made a point
of putting the basket down
and turning in a full circle
to absorb the view
of each season.
Slowly. Purposefully.
(less self consciously as only the birds were observing)

Each attempt I felt less absurd
Each time I gained a grain of renewal
Tho I accomplished less each day
my world did not unravel.
 While fewer items were crossed off
my mental or actual 'to do' list my
previously frenetic world did not end.

Over time I increased my number
stop, look, notice
and as the week and months passed
two astounding truths emerged:

*I was still accomplishing a tremendous amount*
*I was happier than I had ever been*
when I strived only for efficiency

Astounding yet again

Eventually I began to think of each day
as a scavenger hunt 
What could I see or hear that I'd previously
passed by in my 'oh-so-efficient' days?

So simple these efforts to notice detail
surrounding the flow of moments in my days
 yet so rewarding.
And an amazing easing of the pressures
of life of doom/gloom/stress
 of sadness/worry/angst
accompanied this change in focus
I was applying to most of my days.

Moving forward to the farm years
and the future as it continues to unfold:
Always, always my camera is in one pocket
my notepad and pen/pencil in the other
I delve deeper still via image and words
into the scavenger hunt....
Seeking he viewed but not observed sights
catching the heard but not listened to sounds
for myself, for sharing here with you

Magic for the taking
Held within
each and every
around me.....

And I grow more contented still

Of course there are days, weeks that demand my
undivided attention and times that cause stress.
Those times are part and parcel of being a
responsible connected bill paying human.

But here is my hope....
  perhaps one person finds these words
locates a thread of truth within them
and learns sooner than I did
to stop, look and notice
their world

To that person
I say:
Here's to finding yourself
standing somewhere
self consciously
looking & seeing
& seeking...
Photo and text copyright FIDF 2012


BumbleBeeLane said...

I have discovered your secret recently sweet friend.I still struggle to slow down and stop rushing through the endless to do list,but I can say I am taking pleasure in the moments of the little nothings that are so often missed.Warm Blessings!~Amy

TheCrankyCrow said...

Oh that I had read your words years previously.....Would I have taken heed? Perhaps, more likely not....It seems that it is a lesson that is only learned well in the waning mid-days of our lives. Perhaps because it is then that our bodies, spirits and souls can no longer match the pace of our younger selves....who knows. I struggle still with it - but find that having camera in hand, I am more apt to "appreciate" what was once glossed over. I can truthfully say I have seen things in the past few years I have never seen before....but know I will again.... Thanks for the wisdom my friend....Robin