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What Lights You Up?

I recently heard the following story:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are on a camping trip. They paddled for quite a while in their trusted old canoe and eventually came upon the perfect campsite to spend the night. After a well-cooked dinner over a fire, they set up their tent. They settled into the comfort of their sleeping bags and let nature sounds lull them to sleep.

Several hours later Sherlock wakes up his faithful friend, and says, ‘Watson, look up in the sky and tell me what do you see.” So Watson replies and says, “I see millions of stars.” Sherlock asks, “What does that tell you?” Watson is pondering and says, “Astronomically speaking it tells me there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Time-wise it appears to be approximately a quarter past three. Theologically it’s evident that the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically it seems we will have a clear, beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?” Sherlock is silent for a moment and then says, “Watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent.”

Besides chuckling when I heard the end of this story, I also have been pondering what it says about how I live my life.

This summer I paused, and was observant and still, much more than I’ve ever been. This act of just being made me realize, yet again, the many details of daily living that I so easily take for granted.

I’ve seen a lot more flowers grow from bud to bloom. I’ve watched the birds for a lot longer as they visited my bird feeder. I've followed the paths of many more clouds across the blue sky. I took time to watch the smooth water surface transform into waves driven by wind and the rolling of thunder. I watched a bald eagle just sit, and watched it sit a little longer, and a little longer still. I saw the rising sun shining in through the door of my tent, coaxing me to emerge from the comfort of my sleeping bag. I didn't emerge. I lingered a little longer. And by the way, no one stole my tent. Maybe that’s why I didn’t see as many stars as Watson did.

These are all images that I invoke when I find myself usurped from the gifts of the moment, and thrown into the clutches of distraction.I was recently in a yoga class where the sound of the rain became the music with which my breath and movement melded. I was the rain, my breath the lightning flashing in the window, and the sounds of thunder were thoughts rebelling and wanting me to be elsewhere. There was nowhere to be but right in that moment of deep connection to what was and is.

Where our attention goes, is where our energy will flow. Our habits of how we pay attention will define our thoughts, our mood, our feelings, our ideas, our creativity, and ultimately our connection to Source, and to that which lights us up.

May you be lit up by the blessings all around you.


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