Saturday, August 09, 2008

a little nature lesson

I went for a walk through the Gorge this morning. Sometimes I walk in one gate and out the other without taking in a single glimpse of the beauty between, as if my eyes were shut tight. Today I opened my eyes, unstopped my ears and practised mindfulness with each step. The echo of birdsong off the cliffs, aroma of moist foliage, lingering fog, ducks engaging in familiar quackery, water rushing over rocks. It was a lovely start to the day, clearing out the cobwebs of my mind, refreshing, rejuvenating, restoring after a tiring week.

Walking towards First Basin I noticed a Little Black Cormorant perched on a rock in the middle of the river, strutting his stuff. The chest was puffed out, beak in the air as he posed proudly for whomever might look. On the rock behind him a stream of poop trailed down to the water, mocking the elegance of the preening bird.

As I observed the cormorant I pondered how like life this little cameo was. We strut our stuff, chest puffed out, nose in the air, hoping others notice just how good we are. Behind us, just beyond our range of vision, lies the trail of shit we leave in our wake when we hurt and judge and jostle and generally fail to think of other people as we push our own way to the front.

I am reminded of some advice my spiritual director passed on:
By taking a few minutes at the end of the day just to reflect on what has been happening, we can reconnect our daily life with our life in God... Let the day's events replay, like a video in fast forward, and just notice anything that particularly catches your attention. Stay with the memory, as if you are 'pausing' the video to look more closely at that part... Are there any dark patches during the day? Is there something that you now wish you had handled differently?... Is there any 'unfinished business' from the day? Maybe something has left you feeling inadequate or fearful or resentful? Let it rest there in the light of God's love, and ask for the grace of healing and enlightenment. End your prayer by asking for God's continuing blessing upon tomorrow's living, as you let yourself sink into his loving care for you.
If I take time to be mindful, reflective, in tune with God and nature I suspect the trail of shit might diminish or (here's hoping) disappear. Meditating on life and the place I sit leads to selecting more thoughtful, deliberate paths that avoid hurting others (so much).

I guess that means more beautiful walks to the Gorge. How nice.

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At 2:47 pm, August 10, 2008, Blogger Deanna said...

The Gorge does look beautiful. I was just thinking today how your August is akin to our February, and so spring ought to be just around the corner, through the trees (across the Gorge?). Anyway, I agree it helps to recognize the shitty trail I deposit and to strive to be mindful, humble, less bent on strutting; maybe more on cleaning up! (Sorry for the ramblings of a woman up past her normal bedtime. :o))

At 7:47 pm, August 10, 2008, Blogger Robyn said...

Good advise Cec

At 9:00 am, August 12, 2008, Blogger Cherie said...

Perfect, Cecily! Thanks for the analogy, the advice from your mentor, and for putting it altogether.

Reflection is such a necessary thing. People who don't take time for it miss out on all the good stuff.

At 9:24 pm, August 12, 2008, Blogger Sandy's Notes said...

The Gorge does look wonderful. Beautiful post Cecily, it makes me think and sets me up for the day. Maybe I could leave a little less trail of poop today and a little more love. Have a great day!


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