Life is not a straight line. It's a downpour of gifts, please – hold out your hand

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

New Eyes

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."  Marcel Proust

Art by Judy Clement Wall

I've been cranky lately.  The kind of cranky where I feel wildly impatient with my girls when their voices get too loud (which is often) or the person driving in front of me is going painfully slow and I feel like I want to scream really loud, or I can't find my keys and, rather than pausing and taking a deep breath, I whine like a two-year-old and imagine pulling every hair out of my head (that would hurt).  Or I try to center the above quote on this page and, for some mysterious, painfully frustrating reason, it will not center and I imagine myself launching the computer out of the tallest possible building.  

Much of this may very well be hormone related (aren't girls lucky?).  But, the truth is, lately I've been really, super, hyper focused on what isn't working.  When another thing goes "wrong," it's like more evidence for my stashed away collection that the whole world, and everyone in it, is against me somehow.  In other words, I feel like the victim of a whole bunch of shit.  

Insert deep, deep breath.

Ah...I feel better already.  

I am amazed by the power of even just one deep, conscious, come-back-to-NOW breath. 

Breathing in, breathing out.  

Just one breath has the power to take me from my frantic, I-have-way-too-much-to-do-and-nothing's-working mind into THIS moment.  This moment, the one where the dancing Tahitian Vanilla candle is wafting its lovely scent around the room.  This moment where the oaks outside my window stand tall and sure and birds sing their lovely sunshine songs.  This moment,where, really, nothing is urgent or bad or wrong.  One deep, conscious breath and I feel my heart filling with gratitude for these strong lungs, this breath of new.  

This moment where no one is screaming or making random noises or fighting or demanding or pooping on the floor (we have a 16-year-old dog who has lost control of certain things).  This moment where I can shift my focus from washing and packing and list making in my head, trying to make sure I don't forget to do/buy/pack anything before this 2 week family trip we're taking to Yellowstone (we leave early tomorrow morning).   

What we focus on expands...this I know for sure.  This I see over and over and over again.

When I focus on what isn't working, what seems to be going wrong, what I don't have - I inevitably feel anxious, achy, grippy, controlling, like a victim.  In other words, when I focus on LACK, I suffer. A lot.

When I shift my focus from lack to abundance, from what isn't going well to what is going well, from cursing it all to saying thank you for it all, that heavy weight of suffering lifts and I feel light and free and HERE (and, like magic, this can all happen in a single moment).  

For those of you who have been following along, you know that I've been focusing on a different question each week from Debbie Ford's book The Right Questions...the question I'm focusing on this week is:

Am I looking for what's right or am I looking for what's wrong?

For me, there is nothing that lifts that weight of suffering, that takes me from my head to my heart more quickly than shifting my focus from lack to abundance.  When I begin to feel that pressing down heaviness, I know it's time to start counting gifts - that it's time to take deep breaths and come back to NOW - where there is always beauty and blessings.  More and more I'm seeing that there is beauty in it all (even in, maybe especially in what appears to be a mess).  

When I drop deep into my heart space, I no longer see "wrongness," just IS-ness.

I see that when we get to the point where we know we aren't the victim of anyone or anything, when we get to the point where we know, in an instant, we can shift our focus from lack to abundance - when we know it's not about seeking new landscapes but seeing with new eyes, we are free.

F R E E .  I love that word.

Your turn - in your life right now - what are you focusing on?  

Isn't it a beautiful thing to know that you always have the power to shift your focus - that you can always choose to see with new eyes?  That, really  - you are FREE?

*               *               *

I will see you back here in a few weeks...Yellowstone is calling.  :)


  1. Have fun on vacation! Hopefully you'll find the positive in this trip--I hear Yellowstone is quite beautiful. I'm sure it'll do wonders for your sense of peace (and perhaps some later inspiration for your posts and poetry!)

    It's much easier to spot the things that drive us crazy than the things that make us happy. It always surprises me when I have to stop and ask myself, what would make me happy, right here, right now? And the answer has to come from deep within--not the little me voice that is always angry and always on top.
    We take the things that go well for granted. I.E. --the traffic going slow? At least you weren't in an accident. At least it wasn't raining. Maybe there's a good song on the radio to keep your spirits up. Etc.
    Yanking ourselves out of that negative space is tougher than we think it is--but once we reach it, we wonder how we could have missed it in the first place.

    It is a beautiful thing to have power--the problem is, most of us don't realize we have it.
    We can't change events, but we can our perception of them.

  2. This was a wonderful post to leave us with. I'll be pondering the abundance, breathing the now, and seeing with new eyes.
    Have a blast Julia.

  3. I've tried to determine what it is I am focusing on, and it comes down to being present. This one thing is really hard for me as I want to rehash old stuff and stress about what might be. But on those better days when I can settle that monkey mind and listen to my heart, there are these times of being present that lift my soul.

    Your post is very timely and just the extra boost I needed. The best part? Knowing that we all struggle with this same thing..and our need to see with new eyes.

    That quote has been a favorite if mine for years. Judy's artwork and statement just bring it all together!

    I'm sending blessings to you and yours for a fabulous vacation! Love you!

  4. Dear friend, your post is so timely today. I've missed visiting here with all the summer hoopla swirling about, but I am so thrilled to one day meet up again and hear all about the 40 days and exchange stories of Yellowstone. We just returned from a road trip that took us (too briefly again) through that beautiful place. Such glory there.
    I was just talking today with Sicily about this idea -- what we focus on increases. It's truth I need to relearn and remember again and again. I love your heart, and I miss you, dear Julia.
    Happy trails!


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♥ Julia