Saturday, June 05, 2010

Paying Attention

"...paying attention requires no equipment, no special clothes, no greens fees or personal trainers. You do not even have to be in particularly good shape. All you need is a body on this earth, willing to notice where it is, trusting that even something as small as a hazelnut can become an altar in this world." -- Barbara Brown Taylor

"When you have put into practice the thing you are talking about, then speak from knowledge of the thing itself." -- The Wisdom of the Desert

Sunrise Sister recently wrote a powerful post about how her reading choices had taken on a theme of which she was unaware during the selection process. A similar thing is happening to me, and for now the theme seems to be paying attention.

A couple of weeks ago I began reading The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton, in preparation for my upcoming trip to the Sinai Desert. A while back a dear friend suggested I might enjoy Taylor's, An Altar in the World. Recently it became the book that most wanted to hop onto my Kindle pages. Having just finished a chapter in Altar titled, "Reverence," I found it a perfect prompt to review the glorious day I am currently experiencing.

I feel the evening breeze blow across my face as the late afternoon sun begins to set. My golden cat sits nearby, tasting his paws and grooming his coat of gold in beams of precious light. An ice cream truck plays "Merrily, merrily, life is but a dream" and mercifully fades into the distance. Crows caw and sparrows chirp outside my window.

Earlier as I drove home from yoga with the convertible top down, the sun shone on my warm, moist skin as the wind blew my hair wildly across my face. "Unwritten" poured from the stereo and as I looked overhead, a pure white seagull pierced the light denim sky. Heaven on earth. Reverence for these small, great things. Majestic. Awesome.

Fuschia-colored peonies. Miniscule ants of ebony. Golden fur and fluff. Gentle breeze. Strong-brewed coffee crinkling over ice. The feel of glorious, perfect sunshine after days of gray to numerous to count. Strength of my body bending backwards and sinking my spine into the floor. Sweat on my brow. Air moving down my throat and into my lungs, then pressing out again. Dirt beneath my fingernails. Smell of freshly mowed grass. Blisters on my feet. Lavender bubbles in my tub. Crushed ice and freshly squeezed lemon. My daughter's endless legs teetering on silver heels as she heads to prom. Lilting country music drifts from the stereo. An evening fading. A night beginning. A body well loved. A heart received. A spirit full.

These are a few of the things I've noticed today - paid attention to - revered. Oh, that I could speak from their knowledge. Perhaps tomorrow.

"yoga" SoulCollage card by lucy


Dianna Woolley said...

Oh Lucy, your attention was not wasted but now even more shared. We too had an amazing sunshine day today. Nothing makes the sun more precious than teeming rain for about 10! There's more rain forecast for tomorrow but today I'm just thankful for today.

I love the details of your last paragraph - the silver heels - were they next to someone I've met before - N? I'm sure she looked gorgeous.

Amazing 2.25K walk today as I'm so sore from yesterday's catching up for 3 weeks missed from stability ball, a trip to the farmer's market - the first one that hasn't been freezing - some work, only a little in the yard and - tadah! A bike ride - yep, we're a two bike garage now:) CHoices and changes - what's more to say!


Dianna Woolley said...

.....the bird, the white bird, can't wait to hear the threads unraveling in the fine story he must have to tell!


Kel said...

sounds like you're in a good space right now

BBT's Altar in the World was a favourite read of mine last year

you've reminded me to pull it off the shelf again and dip into the pages

it might also be time for me to dust off an altar space or two around here - perhaps re-create them, something new for winter

claire bangasser said...

Altar in the World reminds me of Teilhard's Mass on the World:

Since once again, Lord — though this time not in the forests of the Aisne but in the steppes of Asia — I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labours and sufferings of the world.

I have never heard of the book you mention. It sounds really good.

I very much like this post you wrote (well, I like all of them :-).

Blessings, claire

Tess said...

The gift of attention is one of the finest. As you demonstrate.

Anonymous said...

Kayce!! LOVED your post!! I loved the book Altars of the World, just finished 'Leaving Church' which I would highly recommend and have started 'Home by Another Way'. When are you "Oklahoma Bound"? Would love to be able to get together and do dinner or something. Let me know. Pamela

roxanne s. sukhan said...

Paying attention changes everything, doesn't it?

Kayce aka lucy said...

ss - I seem to recall dreams of a bike just about a year ago. Congrats and woohoo! I'll fill you in on the heels and prom adventure - it's kind of a funny story but I will honor someone's privacy and not spread it here :)

that bird has lots of wisdom! xoxox

Kel - it feels more like winter here most days! Having an altar indoors helps a lot!

Claire - thx so much for sharing the world's mass. It's wonderful to consider all partaking together, huh?

Thx, Tess! xoxox

Pammie - the book recommendation came to me via your sister who got it from you, so thx for the great recommendation! I'll send you an email re: OK. I'd LOVE to see you!!!!

Tinkerbell - yes, it does!

Thx for stopping by all! Blessings to you. See you 'round the altar ;)

Karen said...

Thank you for this reminder--that no matter what may be going on, there is such peace and such beauty to be seen/experienced right now--if only we stop long enough to pay attention. Oh how lovely this entry is...

Kayce aka lucy said...

Thx, Karen. Always so lovely to have you stop by.

Susan Carpenter Sims said...

This is beautiful writing, exalted and earthy at once.

Attention is the one thing I can always afford, if I only remember. And I'm getting better and better at that over time. It's an investment that provides immediate dividends!

Kayce aka lucy said...

polli - in "an altar in the world" she talks about paying attention taking time that most people won't spend. sad, don't you think?

"exalted and earthy"... i love it! thank you :-)