A thousand small ways
“When we are willing to be open-minded, art and beauty come flooding into us in a thousand small ways.” — Julia Cameron
I tend to think of open-mindedness as a trait useful primarily to our rational minds, vital to the examination of ideas, cultures and opposing viewpoints. Yet there are many ways our minds can be open rather than closed. Often we are convinced that we know almost everything about a person, a place, an animal, or even an inanimate object such as a machine. We fail to notice the full picture because our familiarity tells us our full attention is no longer required. Without realizing it, we can close our minds to full awareness.
But living things change; places change; even objects such as computers and electronic devices are likely to have yet-unexplored possibilities. If we can learn to see the familiar as if it were new, our minds would open up to all that is fresh, unexplored, unknown and intriguing.
Whenever I find myself wishing for a new camera, or vacation destination, or new activity or connection, I ask myself: do I have room for something new right now, or do I still need to fully discover what I already have? It’s wonderful to explore and try new things. However, it’s possible to run so quickly from one new thing to another, that we never fully appreciate what we are already doing.
Most days, my walks (whether 2 miles or 5) are along the same roads with exactly the same paths I’ve traveled dozens of times before. It’s easy to pay almost no attention to what I pass, especially while listening to a book on tape. But sometimes– especially when I take my camera– I see things I haven’t noticed before. No two walks are ever exactly the same. I pass different people, see different dogs walking their owners, and chat with different children who stop to pet Pasha. The vegetation changes; new flowers bloom; homeowners decorate their lawns and porches with seasonal touches that add color. All these are examples of easily overlooked beauty that is ours for the taking.
I hope today you will open your eyes, mind and heart to discover those things that are so small or familiar we might miss them. Remember that no two days are exactly alike. What unique joys will be yours today, and today alone?