While the stock market tumults, I study things up close like the black and orange caterpillar that crosses my path. How does a caterpillar survive this uneven terrain I wonder? The war and torture in Ukraine continue while I step out firmly on wet soil. I listen to the tall pines sway and watch the flickering light dance with shadows. There’s a song that plays here. It’s a strange echo of a melody, reminiscent of memories left behind and futures yet unseen.
I get into my car and drive. The prices at the supermarket are barbaric. I grab some produce and plop the bag on the seat. The gas tank is half empty. Gas is expensive as hell and I’m calculating each move by the dollar. There’s a man standing on the corner of the station with his hands in his pockets. I think he knows I’m hiding out, borrowing some green serenity from his forest. I wonder if he’s thinking that I’m a foreigner and should get out.
Back in the thicket, I spot a woodpecker but can’t see the cricket that chirps loudly. Now, I know for sure I’m being watched by a deer family. Each time I walk by, they freeze and escort me with their eyes. They’re strong and soft and wait for each one of their own to cross. I watch them run fast and leap. They look like joy and I’m transported by their free flight.
There’s an age old idiom that says we can’t see the forest for the trees meaning we can’t see the big picture if we focus too much on the details. There’s another idiom that says the devil is in the details meaning details are important. Which idiom is suitable for us now, seeing our current state of things? How can we keep site of the whole journey while also observing the details of our surroundings? What do we pay attention to when things are uncertain and changing?
My inclination is that we need to understand how what we pay attention to impacts our feelings and decision making. There’s nothing wrong with getting up close and personal with the details, if we’re observing with equanimity. We can benefit from observing the texture and pattern of a situation if we don’t get mired down or overwhelmed. When it comes time to decision making, it’s important to widen our perspective to include the bigger picture, the vision, the greater purpose driving everything. You know when you tap into your purpose and vision because it always feels light, joyful and filled with energy.
In mindfulness and meditation, we train our mind and learn to hold our attention deliberately. Sometimes, we practice zooming in and sometimes we practice zooming out and seeing the entirety. The key is moving awareness strategically to see with greater clarity and to take action accordingly.
Today, I am a forest dweller. Yesterday, I was in a light tower. Tomorrow, I will be exactly where I need to be. If only I am aware and patient with what nature is showing me.