You've heard the saying, "To see it is to believe it." Well, being here in Claude Monet Gardens and Museum At Giverny, Franceas part of my YEAR BY THE WATER causes me to understand that:
"To see it is to receive it."
How could one look at Mother Nature's miracles and not be filled with wonder?
Years ago I wrote a book titled #ConZentrate that Stephen Covey recommended as "Fascinating, thought-provoking, motivating."
Although it sold well, was taught at NASA and featured on Dianne Rehm's NPR Show, my editor at St. Martin's Press, Jennifer Enderlin, told me it was "before its time."
Back then, many corporations or associations shied away from booking a program with Zen in the title. Too woo-woo.
Now, companies such as Goldman Sachs, General Mills and Google pay good money (smile) for courses on mindfulness and meditation. They understand the need and bottom-line payoff of their employees knowing how to stay focused and stay centered in our rush, rush, high-pressure, multi-tasking world.
There is a section in that book called "Now and Zen" with a chapter titled "Oh Say Do You See?" that features this quote from Henry Miller:
"The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
However, to really see something takes time, and many of us don't take the time - or feel we have the time- to stop what we're doing and give this person, this place, this project our full focus.
In fact, many of us can probably relate to something my son Tom said during high school. The boys and I were discussing plans for the weekend over dinner. Tom looked a little distracted so I asked, "Tom, are you listening to me?"
"Sure, Mom," he said with a big smile. "You have my UNDEVOTED attention."
Out of the mouths of teens.
Because many of us are going, going, going from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed, it's easy for UNDEVOTED attention to become our default.
Yet the happiness we seek - the deep connectedness we yearn for, is available anytime we want - for a moment's notice.
My sons taught me the importance of putting myself on notice and of being here and how - instead of here, there and everywhere.
One night, while we still lived on Maui,I was giving Tom and Andrew their nightly back-rub after reading from their favorite book, Riptide.
We had created imaginative names for a menu of different types of back-rubs - bumper cars, finger rain, chop suey, slap happy. electricity.
But, that night, instead of being fully present and giving myself to what Thoreau called "the bloom of the present moment," I was a million miles away in my mind.
I was speaking on Oahu the next day and was preoccupied with, "What time is my plane again? When do I need to leave? Does the car need gas? Have I already packed my hand-outs?"
Then, for some blessed reason, my mind came out through my eyes and I saw Tom and Andrew as if for the first or last time.
And in that instant, an ordinary moment became an extraordinary moment. I was filled with gratitude for their health, for their being, for their joyful vitality ... for what Einstein called "knowledge curious."
I became re-awakened to how indescribably magnificent they were and how fortunate I was to be their mom.
How about you?
Do you have so much competing for your time and mind that you rarely really SEE anything?
Are you rushing through your days, feeling disconnected, giving UNDEVOTED attention to the people and places around you?
Anne Morrow Lindbergh said, "Perhaps we never really appreciate anything until it is challenged."
Could you promise yourself you will set aside five minutes today to stop what you're doing and give someone or something special your UNDIVIDED attention?
Could you put yourself on notice and really SEE this person, place or priority as if for the first or last time?
As soon as you do, you will feel deeply connected with them and viscerally grateful for them.
For those five "see and receive" moments, all will be right with your world.