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Sharpening Our Senses

Updated: Dec 5, 2018

Each season carries with it a special magic. Some seasons such magic is easier to find. Spring offers magic across the sensory scale. The fragrance of rich, wet soil after its been tilled for planting, the warmth of sun on the back as one bends to the work of preparing a garden bed, the morning tune of a song bird recently returned from its winter home, all speak of great magic. But there is so much more to be experienced in this wondrous world humming about us. To find it requires something more of us. Focus.

Years ago, when I worked as an elementary school art teacher, I used a wonderful resource named, "Learning to Look and Create". The children and I would look at works of art by famous artists, then we would be presented with a project that encouraged us to use some of those techniques the artist employed. Whether we were experimenting with colors not normally placed together or learning how to bring a line drawing into three-dimensional life through shading, we were learning to look before we created something new. We were sharpening our senses to find the magic in our art.



One of the discoveries I made as a guide for students endeavoring to create their own art is that they grow very still when they are involved in the process. Yes, children can be still. I recall a time when one student called across the room to a child who was less engaged, to be quiet so that the rest of the students could "do art". In this instance, they were focusing their visual sense and connecting it with their muscles in their hands. That's some pretty good magic.

What I've been practicing more recently is applying this quietness as a way to focus my senses and see the deeper magic all around. I'm not the first, nor will I be the last, to discover this. I'm sorry that in my busyness and the noise of daily life, I've missed so much that's been patiently waiting to receive my attention. But it's not easy being quiet, the quiet of the heart, the mind. We might be able to sit still for five minutes, even ten, but to quiet the thoughts takes a deeper level of intentional focus. I find that concentrating on breathing can be enough to allow me to really listen and see. It helps to go out into the wild, the mountains, the lakes, a forest, somewhere where the magic throbs. It really isn't all that quiet out there when we really listen.

It's a practice, a discipline that reaps deep magic and well worth the effort.

What is your discipline?


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