“I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
This week’s spiritual practice is to pause, notice, open to the beauty of autumn. Last week there were some glorious fall days with azure skies and tangerine leaves, leaving me amazed and delighted as I walked the dog. It was impossible not to see the intense colours, so strong and alive in the sunlight.
Pause, Notice, Open is a simple practice that brings us into the moment.
Go out for a walk around your neighbourhood or a local park, during the day, in sunshine or not.
Pause, breath slowly and deeply. Check in with yourself, stretch and relax. Shake out your body. Re-direct your thoughts to the present. How are you feeling? Take a few moments to sit with what ever emotion you might be experiencing.
Notice, after checking in with yourself, look outwards. Look at the vegetation around you, at the trees and shrubs, even down at the ground. Try to keep your eyes “soft”, let your eyes roam about you and then return to whatever tree or shrub captures your attention. Look more closely, study the leaves, look at the light. Move around to see the tree from different angles. Take photos if it helps you focus.
Open: Once you’re satisfied with the looking, stand still and breath deeply. Look a little more, take the experience into your body, and offer some gratitude out in return – to the trees, to life, to God, whatever works for you. Then take one more slow, deep breath and return to your walk.