Devoted Attention

Attention is the beginning of devotion.  - Mary Oliver, Upstream

Christmas has passed, the new year welcomed.  This week I find myself in an odd state of suspension, a limbo, my decorations still up for one more week, and my mind not quite ready to move forward to what's next.

To get my sluggish self moving I resume my walks with Popeye, walks that had been cut short because of his injury (why I couldn't go without him I cannot explain except to say that it felt like a betrayal of sorts).  We head out to our favorite spot, a road off the beaten path that also has a small nature trail.  Here it is quiet, cars passing by few and far between.  The sky is steel gray but bright enough that I feel my spirits lift.  

It's peaceful here.  A place where I can walk and reflect.  

And this is what I learned:  that the world's otherness is antidote to confusion, that standing within this otherness- the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books - can re-dignify the worst-stung heart. - Mary Oliver, Upstream

It is here in nature that I feel most tranquil.  It is here, quietly walking with Popeye by my side, that my thoughts slow, my mind exhales, and I am able to listen to what my heart is trying to tell me.  To rest when I am weary.  To create when I am inspired.  To heed my inner clock and follow it's whispers.  To yield to change (for it seems that change is happening more frequently now as I grow older) to welcome it and the wisdom it has to offer.  

You must not ever stop being whimsical.

And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life. 

-Mary Oliver, Upstream

I think a lot lately about how I view my place in the world.  I used to compare myself frequently to others and often found myself coming up short. Too sensitive, too awkward, not outgoing enough.  Aren't we always hardest on our selves?  But now I allow myself the same kindness I extend to others. I am good enough. 

Our walk over, we head back to the car, my mind now clear, his senses full, both ready to move forward to what is next.  Another new year, another new beginning.

Sharing Nurturing Thursday with Becca.