What Will You Shine a Light on Today?

via FlickrCommons_Gerrit WenzAttention is a lot like a spotlight. 

As a young mother, the gurus of parenting how-to’s reminded me to focus on my child’s behavior that I wanted to encourage and not to make a big deal of the challenges. I hadn’t seen it modeled but it made sense so I gave it a try.  Not only did it abbreviate conflicts, but my son thrived and our relationship flourished.

The same lesson has presented itself time and time again, through many teachers, in a multitude of circumstances. 

The practice that works most often for me is to simply allow my attention to rest most frequently on what’s working, what expands joy, what I value. Difficulties happen. People get sick, kids make mistakes – I make mistakes. Supervisors say stupid things. Bills need to be paid. I’m not suggesting that you ignore those things. Just take action as needed and move on. Rather than placing them center stage, allowing them to dominate your conversations and your energy, deal with them and then let them go.

Notice, accept and act when it’s appropriate. But allow the bulk of your awareness to rest on all the things that enrich your life. 

When we do this, there’s a transformation that happens. We begin to notice the human frailty of the supervisor who yesterday seemed to abuse his power. We see how our child learns more about herself and her world as she explores. We notice a feeling of gratitude as we write that check to the mortgage company. The painful remark made to a friend becomes an opportunity to strengthen the relationship with a sincere apology. 

There are times when the world around us makes this practice a job for the truly courageous. These are the times when events strain our capacity to cope and make joy seem far away. As I sat with a circle of friends recently, I was reminded of the strength it takes to find beauty in the face of great pain. As we grieve for a seriously injured friend, the mutual support eases the load. As each individual faces their unique loss, the love in the room provides a life raft. It’s times like this when seeing the good in life is both incredibly difficult and absolutely essential. 

Whether it’s an ordinary day or one that challenges all our resources, as we shift our gaze to what restores and uplifts us, it expands under the light of our attention. What was once mundane becomes extraordinary. We find beauty in the simplest sights. We hear a symphony in the rain, the bird’s song, a child’s laughter. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes without noticing, we begin to expand the blessings we have through our own actions. We speak with more kindness and hug more often. 

It’s not always easy. In fact, sometimes it’s the bravest thing we can do. But it is simple, as simple as saying, Thank You.

This is a special, practical magic.

Try it. Shine a light on what brings you peace, what offers shelter in a storm, what lifts your spirit and makes you smile.

See what you can make brighter by your awareness.

Tags: , ,

One Comment

Leave a comment
  1. Linda Gotsch July 22, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    Very helpful Kelly, thank you

Leave a Reply