Widen My Gaze

It is so easy for us to habituate to our world, to stop noticing the intimacy of life and things and even activity around us. Here's an interesting experiment to conduct in your home: Take a look around and simply notice things you have not noticed for a while; notice the forgotten or neglected things; the things both "in place" and "out of place." Make no judgement about it, simply reacquaint yourself with your world. I am always surprised at the richness and fullness of my life when I take the time to notice.

I hear the click-clack of wheels across the drain grate as a car drives the street outside my window punctuating the heavy buzz of trucks and morning traffic on I-5, which seems especially loud today through my window, louder than I’ve noticed before. Has it always been this noisy? Have I simply tuned it out? I am amazed at the degree to which I can turn off the world, the level of isolation I can enlist in the service of my activity. Maybe that traffic is like a ringing in the ears to which one habituates, surprised when it appears and then realizing that it has always been in the background.

I am a skilled self-hypnotist, deleting sights and sounds in the world around me and living in a dream. I can leave an object on the floor or set it on a table and it “disappears" from my view. Yes, I see the thing, but with a kind of noticing that does not acknowledge its presence. Yes, I may even step over or around it but only as an act of getting somewhere else and without account of it.

In the way of modern life, I narrow my focus to a purpose and disregard the world. I am a child of the digital era, my world on a screen, my life streamed back to me in a device I carry in my pocket or keep safely captured in a data bank. My Matrix mind recognizes the data stream even now in what sounds like traffic out my window while I live in the world unattended. 

I am skilled enough at narrowing and do not need further practice. I need to walk the land and widen my gaze. I need to feel my feet hit ground one step at a time, to feel the air sweep the surface of my skin, to watch a lizard scurry up a wall and disappear into a crack or catch a squirrel’s rapid dash and full stop dance, each pause holding me hostage in the bottomless black of his eye. I need to hear life longing to perpetuate itself in the mating call of birds perched in branches or the gurgle of creek water as it saunters on its way, giving passage to a single leaf, displaying its fallen colors, as it drifts toward its destiny.

This blog comes from my practice of writing myDaily Intent. For more in the series, click the link below. 

© Nick LeForce
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