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  • by Janet St. John

Art & Soul Seeing #4

2: Focus

Habit 4: Pay Attention

This month, again with inspiration from Kim Manley Ort’s book, Adventures in Seeing, I sought and found beauty and wonder in both the simple and extraordinary. My senses seemed more multi-engaged, as the notion of listening, an exercise in the chapter, really lodged in my mind while I viewed the world. The overarching theme this month was reflections.

I noticed reflections all around my environment: In rainwater pooled on top of a telecommunications box in my community; rising sun off the metal of an electrical utility box; reflections in, and the sound of, moving water in our yard creek-like fountain; reflections of shimmering movement in our pool, which appeared on the underside of the wood pergola, on the stucco walls of our home, even on the soles of my husband’s bare feet as he lay on a lounge chair, drying off after a swim. It was almost impossible to capture those reflections, that dancing movement, in a still image. But that felt just fine. I stayed open to what else might catch my eye and started noticing shadows and contrasts: brown mulch against cream-colored stones, deeper adobe-tinged shadow of a desert willow on stucco (again, the still image couldn’t capture the sound and sight of the leaves moved by occasional breeze), the shadows of the yucca trees behind the pool, appearing in the pool. My eyes and mind then returned to reflections, especially in windows.

Reflection became a meditation involving thought as well as vision this month. I found myself reflecting a lot on where I have been in terms of life experiences and changes and lessons.

I even mediated on the question of what remains steady, as part of me, that is unaltered. Beyond the obvious—changes that occur in our bodies each year through the mere passage of time—I played with the idea of an essential I. This led me to write a poem about waiting at a diner to meet myself (poem still in progress!).

Again, the places Kim’s concepts and exercises took me conveyed important lessons and reminders that I plan to incorporate into my daily living—intention, focused awareness, and always appreciation.

I hope you’ll meet me back here at the end of August, after I’ve spent a month challenging my already quite curious self, to get even more curious!


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