As one who has long enjoyed creating stuff, I’ve seen in myself a desire to focus on the end product. My eyes are set on the future. I can see in my mind what I hope to portray. I set about my artwork or writing with intention and diligence. Upon completion, if the desired outcome evolves, I am elated. If not, the hard work I’ve done seems pointless. As I continue to hang out with the word work, I notice the urge to “get work done”. I have a longing for completion so I can check the box and be free of the task at hand.
A few years ago, I learned to knit. When I started, I was on my own personal knitting mission. I was so enthralled with finishing, to have something new to wear or give away, my hands were non-stop. I flew through projects left and right with a fury to know exactly how to knit and purl.
If someone had asked me, “Are you enjoying the process?”, I would’ve stopped in my tracks. If I admitted the truth, my honest answer would’ve been, “No.”. It has taken many more knitting projects to figure out that being present to the process is important. Slowing down. Enjoying the feel of the yarn. Being aware of the motion as I loop each knit stitch. Staying amazed at how it all holds together. Saying a prayer for the person I’m knitting for.
Our lives, in many ways, are a blanket being slowly knit. One loop at a time, our days blend. At times, life is knit effortless, and during other moments, complication slows us down. Both rich and simple yarns of experience meld to bring texture. As we are in the midst of our life’s blanket, it’s easy to look back remembering the vibrant colors of yesteryear or the missed stitches along the way. We also look forward to how much more needs to be accomplished, aspiring to be wrapped in warmth. However, each loop yearns for our attention, our noticing, so that as we move along, we live life full.
Noticing now is a practice which engages and challenges. I find it’s easy to be in the midst of conversation wondering what to make for dinner or focusing on the plans of next week. When this becomes the norm, the holy ordinary of this very moment is missed.
It’s hard to catch myself in the act of noticing now, but I’m beginning to have more moments where I notice; it seems I have a split second to make a choice. Noticing now may lead to ask forgiveness even though I am justified, drive towards the unknown door of a new friend or look another in the eyes instead of drifting by. Noticing now may recognize anger bubbling and take one large breathe to release, turn off the TV to take a walk or engage a conversation I’d rather ignore. Sometimes, noticing now simply looks at the stars and whispers, “wow”.
As I become a practitioner of now, I am more present to my life. No longer is it about remembering yesterday or finishing the race. Rather, I am beginning to live fully during the process of my work, play, rest and prayer. I’m finding my whole life is being unearthed as sacred territory.
Blessing: Rather than reaching for tomorrow and yearning for yesterday, may your eyes open to today, noticing the sacred ordinary of now.
As you go forth this week, practice noticing one detail of your day while you are in the midst of it. Notice your reaction to noticing.
I used the idea of life being similar to a knit blanket. What metaphor speaks to you about your life?
This month, check out the featured poem pairing with this topic, entitled “Unfolding”.