Updated: Sep 13
You will need: a piece of fruit or vegetable that you would eat raw and a knife.
Today we are going to pay attention to the now, to the present. This can also be called mindfulness, being present, awareness and is not necessarily a religious practice. There’s a good little video from the University of Minnesota at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWJUv1lH-Ng
Our aim is to see with wonder, to be amazed. The longer we truly pay attention to something we can see the beauty in it. Children if allowed free time, without the stimulus of planned activities, sport or screens can do this very well. We often forget how to do that as we age.
Do you remember lying on the grass and paying attention to the clouds-almost to the exclusion of everything else?
May Sarton wrote in her Journal of a Solitude:
“If one looks long enough at almost anything,
looks with absolute attention at a flower,
the bark of a tree,
grass, snow, a cloud,
something like revelation takes place.
Something is ‘given’,
and perhaps that something
is always a reality outside the self.
Esther De Waal, Lost in Wonder, (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2003),38.
Today the practice and activity will be intertwined, using your 5 senses.
Inspired by Esther De Waal, Lost in Wonder, (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2003), pp67-69.
Spend at least 5 minutes on each section. If your time is strict (eg due to work/family commitments you might find it easier to set a 5 minute timer, which you just restart at the end of each section for the next one).
Head outdoors, onto a balcony or in a backyard if you can. If not, stand by an open window that has some sort of view, but not of a brick wall. (Although that might be interesting to try.) If possible, stand in your bare feet.
1) Begin in silence, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Then begin to pay attention to the sounds around you: man-made or natural. Notice some further away, then those closer. Name them if you can, but don’t get too caught up in that, it’s the listening that is important.
2) Keep your eyes closed and be aware of the air, sun, wind or rain on your skin. Your face, maybe your arms, your feet. Still with your eyes closed, pay attention to the surface you are standing on, being aware of the force of gravity that keeps you planted on the earth. Open your eyes and slowly touch a few things nearby. Hold one of them in your hands, notice the texture, colour, weight and the size. Pick up your fruit or vegetable and hold it, note its texture, colour, weight and size. Place it back down again.
3) Now slowly take in whatever you can see in front of you, as far away as you can see and right in front of you. See what is to your left, to your right, above you or down below. If possible, do a slow 360o turn paying attention to all you see as a continuous view. If you can’t (I know some people have physical limitations), then slowly do the 180o degrees from left to right and back again, noticing anything you didn’t see the first sweep. Take your piece of fruit or vegetable and look at it through your magnifying glass. Really notice what you see.
4) Stand still and notice what you can smell. Whether inside or out there will be some smells. If outside pick a leaf, crush it and note its scent. If inside pick something close by that might have a scent and bring it close so you can breathe it in. Pick up the fruit or vegetable you have chosen and take your time to smell it. See if there any connection to a memory or moment rises for you. If it doesn’t that’s okay, if it does, let it come, acknowledge it and let it go again. Stay with the scent.
5) Look around and notice if there are things within your sight that you would be able to taste. Take your chosen fruit or vegetable a