I was extremely fortunate to attend the Hayhouse Writers workshop in London this weekend.
One of the authors, Nancy Levin, posed a question that has had a strange and lingering impact that I haven’t been able to shake off. She asked the question “What didn’t you see today?”
My mind was instantly curious. My logical and rational left-brain kicked in with a levelling retort, “How could I possibly know that which I had not seen?” This has to be true. Surely had I seen it, I would have known it, wouldn’t I?
But the other, wiser, infinitely expansive part of me seemed to understand differently. It had already begun to explore the depths of this question, “What didn’t I see today?”
Even then, I knew I could simply answer this question from a surface level. For I certainly didn’t see my son’s big blue eyes when I kissed his sleeping head goodbye. Nor did I see my supportive husband’s face when he drove away to a weekend in charge of four children and the challenges of juggling tennis lessons, football matches and homework projects. I am blessed to have his unfaltering encouragement as I move along this path.
But my soul called me to look even deeper, beyond the first or second or tenth answer that rose up inside of me. I wondered in how many different ways I had been blind to the world today. My answers took me to unchartered territory. It dawned on me that I take so much of my life for granted. I tend to breeze from day to day, treating every moment as the step to the place I am really trying to reach, rather than realising that in fact, I am already here.
So as I rushed along my path, trying to be somewhere else other than here, I missed so many – too many – of the gifts of life. I missed the views from the train window and the way that the early mist gently caressed the fields of newly emerging crops bringing reminders and a sense of optimism that all that seems to die will eventually be reborn. I missed the bravery on the man’s face as he faced rejection offering me a copy of the big issue in return for small change. I rushed on past. He has more courage than I have ever had. I know that now. I missed the delicious joy of noticing the smiles on hundreds of new faces, people I didn’t yet know but brought together for a common and collective purpose. So much to witness and bask in, yet I missed it all.
I didn’t forget to smell the roses so much as I moved by so fast that I didn’t even notice they were there. But now I know it wouldn’t take much. A willingness to slow down and just open my eyes. To bring my awareness to where I am rather than analysing what has happened or figuring out where I am headed. Without awareness of what we are missing, all of life’s riches will just pass us by. So what will you see today? Let the question point you towards your roses. See the beauty and miracles in what you are already living and relish in the wonder of life.
To find out more and to buy her book of inspirational poetry, check out Nancy’s website http://www.nancylevin.com