Self-Care Challenge (Day 153): Cultivating Awareness

Yesterday, I spent most of the day outside, which provided an opportunity to take a moment to sit and observe what was happening right in front of me. Some would call this a form of nature meditation. I call it pressing the pause button.

I noticed quickly that a lot had changed in a short amount of time. Summer’s arrival was imminent.

It was hard not to be aware of my surroundings. Every few minutes, something would grab my attention, forcing me to look up from my book.

Once it was a black bird chasing a squirrel from branch to branch of a Red Western Cedar. Another time, it was a red-headed woodpecker hammering away at a felled tree behind me.

Between the hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and other small creatures scurrying about, it was quite the show.

And just two weeks earlier, it was a black bear that visited, clearly hungry after his recent slumber. We watched him casually stand on his hind legs, open the garbage bin, and stroll away with a bag of our trash, as if he’d done it routinely. (Neighbors concurred that he had.)

Later in the day, I took a walk and noticed several wildflowers were beginning to emerge, flashing their bright colors to lure in the birds and bees, and it occurred to me that there have been many years when I missed all of this.

I had been caught up in my career, busy with home projects, or simply distracted by the thing we call life. But whether or not I noticed, it was happening all around me.

I admit, it’s difficult to be aware of everything all the time, especially when we’re bombarded with emails and deadlines. The trivial things in life have a way of consuming us.

But cultivating awareness is a form of self-care. It requires a committed effort to carve out moments in the day to notice the little things — and to be grateful for them.

What have you noticed in your area of the world?

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