For those who look with their physical eyes,
God is nowhere to be seen. For those who contemplate Him in spirit,
He is everywhere. He is in all, yet beyond all.
~ Saint Simeon
My goal is to inspire you and to provide you with what you will need both inwardly and outwardly to turn your house (apartment, condo or loft) into a home of Sacred Space. You will be challenged to use your senses differently and stretch your own ability to “listen” to what they have to tell you. Each article balances the need for awakening both your own inner connection with the divine and your sacred imagination.
A favorite book of mine called The Walk, by William DeBuys, tells the story of a man who walks a lengthy course of his land, time and again over a period of 27 years, in the Southwest. As a reader, I was able to participate and walk alongside him, seeing what he saw.
The author shared the landscape in great detail, from the creeks to the woods, and discussed his special relationship with the horses who would just gallop in. As the seasons and years passed, the animals and landscape experienced both subtle and obvious changes. While the story goes on to tell about loss and healing and hardships the author overcame, I was most moved by the descriptions of what he saw. By focusing on one sense — his sight — he was able to see at an even deeper level with clarity and grace.
After finishing the book, I committed myself to slowing down as often as I could and allowing myself to see what is in my environment by using my peripheral vision — bearing witness to what crossed my path, while trusting what has arrived. As many of us know, we often become so focused on the task that we lose sight of the big picture. How many times have you rushed through the supermarket for those last few items, taking the shortest route, only to stand in a long line waiting impatiently to check out.
When I took the time, I saw the harvest in the produce section — vibrant rich salad tomatoes, round plump pumpkins waiting be carved with Jack-o-lantern faces, shades of green Granny Smith apples ready to be baked into pies, dented earth-dusted potatoes, bright yellow lemons and ripe bananas, all waiting to be picked out thoughtfully and shared with family. In another direction, I found bunches of perfectly opened pink-colored roses or snow-white daisies with their smiley bright-yellow button centers, assorted seasonal colored pompon carnations and deep-green tropical plants. I would not have seen any of this if I hadn’t slowed down. Ironically, when I took the time, the lines were no longer long and my patience was no longer lost.
Each day, my three dogs and I take a walk around the neighborhood. The four of us heading out the door of my home is similar to the opening seconds of a horse race when the bell rings, the gate doors open and the announcer says, “And they’re off!” All three are pulling their weight — and me — down the sidewalk for a relatively short distance, which nonetheless can feel like an eternity. While this initial pulling is happening, I am completely focused on them and what they see, especially their unshakable eagerness in getting to the big cypress tree at the bend ahead. They run and drag me as if it’s the first time they’ve ever seen the tree. Once there, a calm comes over them, their gaits slow, and our walk officially begins.
It’s a marvel to watch what all three of them see, as I participate in their journey. To be headed north and have a leaf tumble east, and immediately all twelve paws head east to catch it — there’s nothing like it. We stop at stop signs, waiting to cross as cars pass, and their heads go from right to left in unison observing the cars in their path. Then there is the occasional ball on a front lawn that all would like to play with, as well as the baby bunnies that appear in the grass near the butterfly bushes at the school playground. It is in these moments that I feel so grateful for my developing sense of seeing more deeply. Had I brought my cell phone or stuffed my iPod headset into my ears, I would have missed the daily routines that fill them with such joyful appreciation and purpose.
Notice what you see while in your life routine. Pay attention to whether you see what is new or if you only notice what is missing. Be mindful of how you observe the world- is it through architecture, nature or color.