What began as a way to connect with friends, as I attempted to describe the last week of my father’s life, evolved into a blog that functioned as an outlet for personal experiences. Because it was to be an “up-close” view of how I was showing up in life, I called it Across My Path. Frequently, it seemed, an observation led to a bigger inquiry about the quirks, meaning, or implication of my “noticing.”
For example, a few weeks ago I had a ministerial obligation that provided a new insight into a long-held belief that I always showed up looking a bit disheveled. While I was performing the ceremony, I was not the focal point of attention at this gathering. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to appear pulled-together, terrific, and incredible.
I spent a great amount of time working on the ceremony, and I also spent an equal amount of time on my “look.” I debated clothing—a dress or trousers with a duster—and shoes—flats or pumps. And that was just the beginning of the process because, since the event was outdoors, there was the weather, the terrain, and location which needed to be taken into account.
The day for the ceremony got closer and so did my preparations. Made the final changes on the ceremony, heaved a sigh of satisfaction and went shopping. You see, I discovered that I needed new earrings and new makeup so that everything would coalesce.
If it sounds as though I am a bit narcissistic here, let me assure you—not so!! My past had led me to believe that the presentation of me could quickly disintegrate, necessitating caution and preparation. I could leave my home looking pretty fine, only to arrive looking like Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoon.
Such was the case for this ceremony. Unintentionally, or so I thought, I managed systematically to undo myself! Arriving at the site with ample time to spare, I sought out an uncrowded lunch spot. Waiting for my quesadilla to arrive, I visited the Restroom. Although cleanliness was at the bottom of its assets, my bladder was not listening to my assessment. So, maintaining the space between my body and all porcelain entities, I sought relief. Oh, no, the first of my undoings…fluid finding my leg instead of the bowl!! Well, it was paper towel and water time.
With minimal effort, I returned to my almost pristine appearance, I drove off to the site. With a deep breath and a big smile I left my car, whereupon the heavy wind undid my hairstyle, a lock on the gate grabbed my mesh sweater and gave it a new opening and the dust converted my blue suede shoes (yes, blue suede) into khaki work sandals. The final touch was the discovery that my lips were now colorless.
How did I feel about all of these little events? Actually, as I turned to watch the bride and groom come up the aisle, glowing with happiness and love, I felt as though I had become the perfect conduit for Spirit to perform this marriage. My exterior may have become a little rumpled but my interior was overflowing with joy and love.
As I considered my experience, I settled into a contemplation of how frequently I have placed the attention “out there” rather than “in here.” Consequently, I discerned that “noticing” meant that we allow, we observe, we embrace, we appreciate. Yes, the exterior might get a bit messy. But the interior becomes more about love and about knowing.