||Taking the Time to Take in Nourishment
Walking through Central Park each morning for the past 10 years, I have consistently found myself completely entranced by the beautiful trees. From season to season, they change – from the enfolding green of summer to the bare branches of winter. I have to admit that I have a preference for the green time of the year. All summer long, I find myself walking through the park looking up at the leaf-laden branches overhead. For me, there is little more nourishing that walking under a canopy of leaves, listening to the birdsong that’s particularly energetic first thing in the morning. I find myself enchanted and, when I discover that I’ve walked a distance mindlessly, and have missed paying attention to the trees, I notice a sense of loss and bring myself immediately back into awareness of the all-enfolding green.
For this week’s experiment, I invite you to pay particular attention to sources of nourishment in your life, with a special emphasis on noticing where you drift away from taking in that nourishment by becoming lost in your thinking or distracted in some other way. For example, if there’s a particular piece of music you really enjoy, and if the lyrics speak to you in a way that moves you, notice what happens when you just listen and take it in. Then, notice your experience when your mind wanders or you become distracted in some way.
It’s not that you have to wrestle yourself to the mat to stay focused every minute of all the time. Rather, this week’s experiment is about offering yourself moments of nourishment you may want and to offer yourself an opportunity to soak them in more fully. So many of us have the habit of allowing our minds to drag us here and there and so we may miss nourishment we might benefit from taking in.
I also invite you to give yourself permission to discover new sources of nourishment, or bring back into your life some that you may have let fall away and yet really enjoyed. Also, notice both small and grand sources of nourishment. For example, I thoroughly enjoy the trees in the park that I encounter everyday on my way to the office, and I also find nourishment in going to a Broadway musical. One source is available all the time; the other is for special occasions. I pay equal attention to each and that’s sometimes the challenge – to be equally filled up with experiences we encounter daily as we are with those that are less frequent.
As with all the experiments, this one has to do with being present, living consciously, rather than moving through experiences on auto-pilot. Being on auto-pilot and lost in our own thoughts can cause us to lose beautiful moments of nourishment along the way. This experiment, as all the others, invites you to be present to the moment as it emerges right here, right now, and to benefit from those moments that are nourishing along the way.
Remember to bring curiosity as your companion, and to be willing to hold your awareness lightly, without self-criticism, self-judgment, or struggle. This is an experiment in supporting nourishing moments and taking the time to enjoy them.