One small shift can go a long way

As often as I can, I take a leisurely stroll through my beautiful neighborhood, usually at dusk when the air is crisp. I try to pay particular attention to the natural beauty all around – the sky, the trees, reflections of light off the surface of a nearby pond. On this particular night, I seemed to be preoccupied with thoughts, and lots of them!

Noticing the distraction of my thoughts, and how they were interfering with my experience of the present moment and all its glory, I became aware of my visual focus. Specifically, I asked myself where my eyes were directed while I was absorbed in thoughts. Straight ahead? Upward or outward? No!

Staring downward, down at the sidewalk directly in front of me rather than noticing the immense beauty of nature all around. Looking down is often, if not usually, where someone directs their gaze while thinking, or “talking to themselves.”

I responded to this one observation by making one simple adjustment:

I looked up!

From then on, each time I found myself dropping my head back down, to resume my “very important” thinking, I gently and non-judgmentally lifted it back up. The evolving night sky became more sublime with each successive reminder. By the time I arrived home, I felt alive and awake, as I had just been treated to some of nature’s finest, all seemingly for my very own pleasure.

What happened to those thoughts when I shifted my gaze?

They simply faded into the background, as they became lost in the vastness of the beauty that now surrounded me.

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