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Posts Tagged ‘focus’

When you walk in the woods, do you see the forest or the trees?  Do your eyes come to rest on the bark of the closest  trunk or is your vision focused on the woods behind it?

Similarly, when you’re walking on the beach, are your eyes scanning the shore for a special shell,  a heart shaped stone or a bottle with a message in it, or are you gazing at the horizon line?

It’s easier to focus on the trees nearby if the path ahead is tangled with vegetation.  The possibility of ticks in the grass or mosquitoes lurking in the deeper woods may prompt you to take a closer look at the soft new growth on the branches  within your grasp.

If the path ahead appears clear and bright, you may be more inclined to venture into the forest.

At home or at work, I often find myself caught up in the details in my surroundings.  My eyes dart quickly back and forth looking to re-arrange or make right whatever seems out of place.  However, when daily life sometimes becomes cluttered, as the beach is with seaweed after a storm…

I lift up my eyes to focus on what’s ahead.  (One of these days I’m sure I’m going to see a mermaid sitting on top of that big stone).

Our ability to shift our focus is a gift that allows us to be happy in any circumstance.  All that’s required from us is a willingness to refocus our attention, perhaps for just a moment, before getting back to the task at hand.

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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Snow covers the landscape, coating everything with blue in the early morning light.  Blue can be beautiful, but it also can also make a frigid day seem even cooler.  

With the warm, rich colours of fall a distant memory and spring still many long weeks away, it’s at this time of year that many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Less sunlight and exercise cause many to feel the winter blues.  Tiredness and lethargy make some wish they would have gone into hibernation back in the fall.  Others get downright depressed.  Children become restless too and it becomes more difficult for both young and old to focus on the task at hand. 

For people of all ages, perhaps the simplest solution to the winter blues is to go outdoors in the open air and get some exercise.  Whether you go for a short walk to the end of the driveway or a stroll around the neighborhood, breathing in the fresh air and feeling outdoor light on your face is a step in the right direction. If there are trees nearby, you’ll also benefit from the extra oxygen they expell.

If you really want to lighten your spirits, and especially those of children, you could try a winter picnic.  You don’t need to pack much.  A couple of sandwiches, cookies and something warm to drink in a thermos will do.  Bring along some seeds for any chickadees you might see flittering in the trees.

You need not stay out in the cold for long.  Being out in the natural light surrounded by trees is sure to put you in a different frame of mind.  The warmth of the indoors will seem even more enjoyable afterwards.

Now I see the secret to making the best person:  it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.
~ Walt Whitman

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ragged robin

Ragged Robin flowers grow wild in the yard.  They just popped up a few summers ago and I’ve been mowing around them ever since.  They’re too pretty to cut down.

daisy patchI used to mow around the Oxeye daisies too but now restrict their growth to mostly a large circular bed in one corner of the yard.  Once they’re done blooming, I mow the area flat.

Wild flowers require no special care.  They grow where God has planted them (or I’ve transplanted them) and need no extra watering beyond what rains down.  They’re not as prone to blight and insect damage as introduced species seem to be, and the slugs don’t have much of an apetite for them.

Unfortunately, these plants are often seen as weeds and tend to be either tolerated or eradicated with great effort from city lawns.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

~ William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

Whether or not a plant is considered a weed is a matter of perception.  Poet William Blake believed that ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.’  Signs of innocence are close at hand but it’s up to us to open our eyes, take notice and try to understand them.  ‘Everything that lives is holy’ and can bring us in touch with that which is infinite.  What positive things might happen today if we were willing to abandon our pre-conceived, limited notions of beauty and abundance?

shore birds in flight

Nature in its many forms possesses qualities that can connect us to this holy state.  From sandpipers on the ocean’s shore to doves on city streets, these signs of innocence are ready to give us a glimpse of the infinite and the eternal, if only we would adjust our focus.

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