The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention…the reward for attention is always healing…more than anything else, attention is an act of connection. ~Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
The wisdom traditions teach there’s some kind of result in where we bring our attention. Whatever we want to find, we will…find something.
I was driving from Idaho to Southern California a couple weeks ago, worried about friends in the fires, scanning the western horizon, considering how the curve of the earth only allows so much. Much like the hours in a day, our vision offers no more than we can handle. My attention had been captured.
I made it to the Coachella Valley, resisting the urge to veer west and add to the volume of people seeking beds. Instead, sent prayers or whatever you want to call them. I consider prayer, the act of connection, inclusive enough to be secular—it’s way more generous than my capacity…or vision.
Then the holiday week brought more opportunities to shape how to live in this little space of mine. We were supposed to be full of gratitude, and I kept thinking about people and animals in the fires. I wasn’t feeling grateful, and daily decisions felt trivial, paltry. I had chances to be greedy, negative, kind, generous, angry, appreciative. I took them all.
Now that we’ve fully launched into the holiday season, let’s get honest. There’s too much packed into our little 24 hours and visual scope to always be grateful and spacious. More of those opportunities will arrive~ it’s how I see and welcome them that matters. If I can get by with appreciation, then I’m present, positive, and paying attention.
Then, if I’m connecting with other people, delight and gratitude often arrive. I’m just suggesting we begin with attention and appreciation as our default. It’s some kind of sacred alchemy. It seems as important now as ever, because we have a lot of healing to do.