September Practice: Noticing the Silent Lives Around Us
This month we share two practices that our social media community members found helpful in the early months of the pandemic. We return to these practices with the hope that they continue to be helpful to you as you help others in your life and work to savor the only moment we really have: now.
I find that slowing down and looking around me helps. In our situation, living in the Irish midlands, it generally means slowing down in front of life growing all around us. Rather than taking a tree, or bush, for granted, I take time to explore the growth and appreciate or value it anew. This approach takes me into the area of beginning to take life as being sacred. I share oxygen/carbon dioxide with this plant growth. But other forms of life, non-human, are all around us. In that context, we are learning to share their time experience (living in accordance to their circadian rhythms) and slow to the time of the planet rotating [around] the Sun. This slowing of time allows us to see the virus in context. It also has a slow life as it drifts into and around us. However, let's not be at war or in a battle with the virus. It, like us, and like the plant growth around us, is part of life. How can I begin to see the virus, itself, as being sacred? A question I have yet to answer.
I have found it helpful to make miniature home decorations out of fallen flower blossoms, little twigs, shells, feathers and other natural materials I find on my walks. I put them around the house and they remind me of the many silent lives around us.
What or who is living silently around you? What can you do to notice and honor them?
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Abraham Heschel on awe
Awe can be a magical, even divine experience. It, too, can help us feel more interconnected. According to University of California professors and researchers, Paul Piff and Dacher Keltner, “awe helps bind us to others, motivating us to act in collaborative ways that enable strong groups and cohesive communities.”