The term "pay attention" is an interesting one. Does it really cost to focus our attention on something? It's a term parents and teachers use frequently and perhaps so do a few wives. Are you paying attention? Why can't you just pay attention? I think it's been so falsely ingrained in us that we must pay attention that we avoid it. The truth is that giving our attention is an act of surrender designed to pay us in rich rewards.
A few weeks ago my aunt asked my uncle to dig up a couple curly willow trees that had grown too close to her house. Their invasive roots can damage the foundation of a house. I suppose she hadn't any room, or perhaps she felt sorry for my sorry backyard and its lack of greenery, and she asked if I wanted them. Of course I said yes. They were green and curly beauties. My husband brought the two trees home and my brother planted them for me. Within two days all of the leaves wilted and turned the color of hay while the smaller branches began to harden and turned a crackly deep brown.
That's the thing about transplanting. Sometimes you can't tell whether or not the plant will take to the new soil. The same is true for humans. At best my aunt expected we'd know whether they would survive by next spring. That's a long time to wait. Nevertheless, I've been faithfully watering the two dead looking brown trees for a couple weeks now. It's a stretch for me. I like immediate results. Who doesn't in this speedy world? Actually growing things takes a lot more time. It takes help as well. My brother has been faithful to ask me, "Did you water your plants today?" He mentions the weeds too but I'm slacking in that department.
Speaking of dead things, last night I stayed up until the wee hours in the morning until my mind was dulled and cloudy. I was trying to write for my other project called Ladies By Design but I just couldn't write. I'm used to a natural flow but it felt like my free flowing creativity had died up. I tried and I tried but I finally went to bed in defeat. This morning, I returned to my morning pages even though I felt my words were as dead as my two little trees. My heart said, "What's the point?" I also finished Chapter Two of The Artist's Way. It was ironically titled Recovering A Sense Of Identity. It was right were I was at. Isn't it funny how the universe works that way?
Cameron talked about her grandmother's talent for paying attention. She said, "Life through grandma's eyes was a series of small miracles; the wild tiger lilies under the cottonwoods in June; the quick lizard scooting under the gray river rock she admired for it's satiny finish." Her words reminded me of me. Especially at Ladies By Design, I like to write about the extraordinary found in the ordinary. Lately I've been so focused on what lay behind me as well as what may lay before me...I've forgotten to pay attention to the now.
Of course, it really isn't about paying attention as it is receiving a gift. This morning, I happened to notice a little green glimmer as I watered my seemingly dead trees. Usually I just placed the hose nearby quickly looking away from its ugly deadness. Today I looked at them. Really looked at them. I stooped down and discovered three tiny buds at the base of the smallest and most deadest looking tree. Isn't that just like the Great Creator? Sometimes life appears in the deadest of places.
If you are where I have been, I encourage you to keep watering your dead places. Write your morning pages. Try a couple assignments. I did the Monster Hall of Fame (38) and Ten Tiny Changes (58). Keep reading...or start reading and sharing. It makes a world of difference. Now, I'm going to see about watering Ladies By Design. Let's see if these seemingly dead places can live!