Seeing, not looking

I think one of the problems we have as human beings is our innate tendencies to look and not see – forever searching, rather than seeing and appreciating what we have and all that is before us. The trouble with looking is that we’re imposing our expectations and our needs, rather than being present to whatever is around us and to process things and appreciate them for what they are.

Similarly, we often hear but don’t listen, which again, means we’re not really present. It can be hard to listen, with our minds racing here and there, but the value of listening can’t be underestimated, not just for the person being listened to, but in developing our own skills in being present and empathetic.

I especially practice both of these skills in nature, for when I just encounter what is there – rather than what I would like to be there or hope will be there – I experience such joy and openness and gifts – beyond what I could have hoped or planned for. Sometimes just by baring witness, to whatever it is, what will come to us is not what we wanted or expected, but often it will be so much better and by being present and still, we will be in a much better place to receive it.

Five-dollar mask

Masks have become a regular part of our everyday lives over the past year and a half. I wear only the cloth ones, as my heart breaks with all the disposable ones I see littered on the ground everywhere. One night, on a walk around the neighbourhood , my mask ended up on the ground somewhere too, as it fell out of my pocket. Although it only cost $5, it was quite a pretty mask decorated with flowers, so I would have been sorry to have lost it. As I discovered its absence only on returning home, I re-traced some of my steps, but couldn’t find it. I thought I would try again the next morning.

Before doing that, I ran an errand at a local drug store, and at the cash, I found $5 on the floor. Without thinking, I handed it over to the cashier. I don’t know if anyone would claim it or not, but I didn’t feel it was mine to keep. Oddly, handing over the $5 bill (the cost of my mask) made me sure that I would find my mask again. And I did. I went further along my route and found it on the grass of the local park.

You might say that I would have found the mask anyway, but for me, it was a reinforcement of how my relationship with the universe works – founded on honesty and openness, and things I put out literally come back to me. Of course, I think we should all strive to be honest without any expectation of return, but it’s also nice to have reassurances from the universe that it’s continuing to look out for me and the things that I care about.