Make time to stand and stare

Light from the rising sun is pouring into the room, finding its way through the slats in the chair across from my desk and teasing my eyelids upward, insisting that I look outside and acknowledge the rapid onward march of the morning. Before I know it, the pleasant early winter chill will have given way to the heat of the afternoon and just as rapidly, the sun would be gone, to light another day on another part of the planet. And with the new day there will be other deadlines and other commitments to meet, while the ones we have not yet fulfilled will doggedly nip at our heels, reminding us that there is still more to be done.

light-on-leaves There really doesn’t seem to be enough time to stand and stare. To reflect. To let the mind wander and stumble on to things that surprise us and show us unexpected connections that bring an element of freshness to our lives and our work. It’s that serendipity that keeps things interesting, that makes each day a little less routine. But when you think about it, it’s not so much the lack of time that keeps us from encountering these everyday surprises. It’s our sense that there is no time. If you were to excavate all the minutes where our minds are actually free to observe and engage in the moment, where we are either suspended between duties (for instance, when we are on the bus to school, or standing over the stove at home, maybe stirring a pot, or even when sitting around waiting for the power to come back), we could fill our pockets with time. And if we were to stop feeling pressurized and wondering why the work wouldn’t get done faster, we could use that in-between time to look around us and expose ourselves to the unexpected.

So as I sit at my desk, watching the rays slide over to the next window, wondering what to write about this month, I find that I’ve just pulled out one pocket of time and used it to fill my mind with the sunlight, to recharge my day’s battery with a beautiful oblong piece of criss-crossed sun that falls on my (yet to be swept) floor tiles. That’s all the energy I need to go on with the day. Until another surprise greets me tomorrow, maybe travelling on the shaft of another sunbeam.