“Sometimes it’s the quiet observer who sees the most” ~ Kathryn L. Nelson
Like many this year, my travel plans the week of Christmas came to a standstill. Our three-day trip to Florida was delayed by a day when our flight was cancelled. Shortly after we received notice of the cancellation, my niece texted us some tickets to the Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Light. The timing was wonderful! My husband and I bundled up and left our airport tensions behind. As we strolled around the gloriously lit paths, I felt a welcome ease. Our frustration with our travel delay was diminished by the gratitude and awe that built during our time among the lights and delighted visitors.
The light scenes offer a metaphor for our journey into 2023. A friend pointed this out to me as she shared of her time volunteering there this year. She explained she was posted along a trail reminding visitors to pause and watch the view a few moments longer, until the colors changed. The shifting scene was an unexpected pleasure made possible only when they slowed their pace.
When we arrived for our rescheduled flight, our mood was more relaxed and hopeful. The line through security was shorter than we have ever experienced it and the gate agent offered us better seats. I believe our attitude helped us to notice what was going well, rather than focusing on what was not ideal, or what could still go wrong. Some would describe this as noticing what we expect to notice.
The invitation to pause and revision the moment comes at a time when we have an opportunity to think about our hopes and intentions for a new year. It is a reminder to slow our thoughts and open our hearts; to keep care of the moment such that we experience all it has to offer. Leaning into even subtle highlights of a moment and staying present to the details and brilliance of life’s unfolding can affect our mood and our approach to life.
What do you expect to notice in 2023? Consider pausing as you gaze into your immediate future. Does it help you to watch the landscape shift a little?
What is your spiritual eye asking you to see? Perhaps softening your gaze and setting aside expectations will help you to connect to a feeling that surprises you, enlivens you, or changes your mood. I invite you to talk with your spiritual director or someone close to you about your experience.