Going Nowhere

In an age of acceleration nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow, and in an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention, and in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.
— Pico Iyer

I haven’t written a blog post since March 2017. Two years! You might be wondering where I’ve been. On the other hand, if your inbox is anything like mine, you might not have noticed at all.

I guess you could say I’ve been enjoying going slow, paying attention and sitting still. Well, that’s not exactly true. In the past two years, we moved to a new house and I took another trip to New Zealand. I also facilitated or helped facilitate close to 50 retreats and workshops, attended another 10-day meditation retreat and continued meeting with numerous coaching clients and spiritual directees.

Well… now that I think about it again… I really have been enjoying going slow, paying attention and sitting still. It’s what I do for a living!

In his excellent TED Talk, The Art of Stillness, Pico Iyer talks about the value of eliminating distractions in order to be fully present to life. A world traveler, he talks about how far you can “travel” by “going nowhere.” If you live in Richmond, you can sign up to hear him speak at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church this Thursday evening (March 28, 2019). 

This Lenten season I have been fasting – eliminating the distraction known as Facebook – and spending a lot of time on my back porch watching birds (and squirrels and rabbits). We have a white sparrow! Because this little sparrow is so noticeable, I’ve also begun to notice that we have the same birds coming to the feeders most days: four pairs of cardinals, four pairs of mourning doves, an occasional bluebird, dozens of sparrows and house finches, at least six pairs of goldfinches, a northern flicker, several smaller woodpeckers, a flock of starlings, numerous robins, sometimes crows and ravens (one of our crows has two white tail feathers), and although they seldom stop we often hear Canada geese flying by. Two large, red-shouldered hawks keep constant watch over the neighborhood.

This is what it sounds like in the early morning (listen to the end for full effect): 

Sitting on my back porch watching the birds feels luxurious and, yes, thrilling to me. Not bungee-jumping thrilling, but thrilling all the same. It fills my soul.

What have you noticed in your world today?

Mimi Weaver1 Comment