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« Fall Has Amazing Way of Accentuating Special Possibilities | How to Weigh Possibilities Between Good Enough and Broken »
Monday
Oct082018

How to See More Clearly and Make Way for Better Possibilities

It’s one of life’s facts that our view gets obstructed from time to time. What’s funny about that is we don’t always realize when it has happened. Maybe we don’t notice because it happened slowly. Other times we are consumed by the cloudiness and find it challenging to see solutions or possibilities. Our thinking enters the black and white or extreme zone where we feel as though things will always remain fuzzy. One thing know is that life isn’t black and white, but a lovely mix of extremes with grays stretching towards both ends of the spectrum. With autumn in full swing, this season perhaps more than any other emphasizes this idea. Days go from bright, sunny, colorful and crisp to gray, rainy, foggy, and damp. When it’s foggy, how can we break through to see more clearly or just appreciate the mist? How do we make room for possibilities?

The first step is awareness. I’ve identified seven ordinary opportunities for identifying cloudy situations. It is from this awareness that you can forge a path for different possibilities.

 

7 Ordinary Awareness Opportunities . . .


Waking from Sleep

There is that beautiful moment in the morning when you first awaken. You’re still sleepy and snuggled in your cozy bed. Your alarm just rang or maybe you’ve woken naturally. You lie there and then slowly open your eyes. Things are blurry at first as your eyes adjust to the morning light. Instead of jumping out of bed immediately, allow a few moments so that you can transition to wakefulness. Let your eyes acclimate to the sun. Take a few, deep breaths. Slowly elongate your body by stretching your arms and legs. Set a positive intention for the day. Notice the sounds, smells, and sensations around you. In this gentle way, you are preparing yourself for the possibilities of the day.

 

Cleansing the Face

In the morning and again at night I have my face washing routine. I’ve come to realize that this pattern is not just about having a clean face. It’s a self-care ritual that brings me calm and clarity. In the morning when I’m still sleepy, there’s something about scrubbing, toning, and moisturizing that helps me slowly wake up. It’s my cue that the day has begun and that opportunities are before me. At night, the same routine helps me wipe off the day’s make-up and grime. Cleaning my face in the evening promotes a calm, gentle end to the day. The dirt gets cleansed along with any challenges or stresses from the day. The ritual creates an opening for a restful night. 

 

Wiping Your Lenses

Do you wear eyeglasses? I do. I need glasses for reading and computer work. While I try to be careful about only touching the frames and not the lenses, inevitably, I forget. I’ll pick up the glasses by the lenses, which makes them dirty. What’s funny about this is that I don’t realize when I’ve done it. I don’t notice that I’ve touched the lenses or that they’re smudged. I could use more mindfulness practice on this one, right? Instead, what will happen is that after some time, I’ll realize that I can’t see so well. My first thought is, “Oh, no! My eyes are getting worse.” Then I realize that the lenses are dirty, so I clean them. When I put my glasses back on, it’s astonishing how well I can see. How often is our judgment clouded by a belief or assumption? By cleaning our lenses, we can see other possibilities.

 

Cleaning the Windows

Two of my favorite times of year are when our windows get cleaned. This fall, in particular, the windows had gotten especially dirty. We had the house power washed, and the residue dripped onto the windows. Since our house has a lot of windows, the darkened glass was noticeable. The obstructed view agitated me and negatively colored my day. Similar to my eyeglasses, I just couldn’t see out as well. Then like magic, the window-cleaning day arrived. One by one, each window was restored to a bright, clear view. As the layer of dust lifted, my attitude became more open and positive.

 

Returning Home After Being Away

I like traveling, but what I really enjoy is returning home after being away. There are things we stop noticing when we’re around them all of the time. We take them for granted. Leaving and returning allows us to see again what has been hidden from our view. They include things like the comfort of sleeping in your own bed, enjoying your favorite foods, having your supplies at the ready, or being able to navigate in the dark. When we travel, new environments open us to possibilities. When we return home, we can bring some of those discoveries with us. We can also return a renewed appreciation of home.

 

Opening Eyes After Mindfulness Meditation

It’s not a requirement to close your eyes when meditating. I prefer to because it helps me be more fully present with my experience. I meditate in the morning. Some mornings the sun shines brightly and other times the day is gray with diffuse shadows. The natural light varies depending upon the weather and time of year. The experience, however, of having my eyes closed while awake for 10-30 minutes and opening them at the end of the meditation, remains the same. There is that first-moment post-meditation when I open my eyes. Calm floods my being. My physical sight is sharp. Internally I feel more open and accepting of what is before me. I am content in just being, and also ready for what the day will bring.

 

Appreciating Cloudy Skies

You might have figured this out by now, but I prefer sunny to cloudy days. I like bright colors over dull ones. I love sparkly instead of plain things. I know that all days can’t be glittery, sunny and pleasant. If they were, we wouldn’t fully appreciate them. Recently I was sitting by the river on an overcast morning. I saw a couple taking a walk when they bumped into their friends. They asked them, “Will the sun ever come out?” Without hesitation, their friends said in a sing-song-from-the-musical-Annie-way,“Tomorrow.” And then they all laughed. It made me smile too. I thought about a few things. Life isn’t always cloudy. There’s always hope. There are still possibilities. The sun will come out eventually. When the clouds are here, they provide an opportunity for contrast, for gratitude, and for finding your way to clearer days.

 

I’m curious about your cloudy experiences. What resonates with you? What helps you to see more clearly and prepare for possibilities? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come and join the conversation!

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (14)

I'm a sunshine girl, too, Linda. I love sunny days because they fill me with energy and enthusiasm. I appreciate cloudy days because I become more contemplative - I'm a little slower paced. I welcome that opportunity to evaluate where I am and to plot my path to where I want to be. Of course, it doesn't always work out the way I plan but then the next cloudy day let's me go through the process again!

October 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

@Diane- Even though you prefer sunny days, I love how you "use" the darker ones as your respite for slowing your pace and planning. It seems like you've figured out a respective balance between the two. Inspiring! Thank you for sharing.

October 8, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Great timing, as I look at my window at yet another gloomy day. Thanks for the reminder to see the beauty in these days as well.

October 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

It's gloomy here today and my husband and I sang 'Tomorrow' from Annie to our kids before they left for school. We got the typical 'eye-roll' from them but we had fun.

'Wiping Your Lenses' hit home for me last week. What I thought was a smudge was really a scratch on my glasses. I have been putting off getting much-needed Progressive lenses for about two years. Now that I can't see clearly, I think the day of reckoning has arrived. There will be an adjustment period (I'm told) but I know it will make my life easier in the long run.

October 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Agin Murray

I love this Linda. It really gives us a good reminder to slow down, pay attention, check in with our own "emotional weather" and have more awareness and actually taking the time to feel what is going on with ourselves. A really good reminder especially these days when we have such fast paced lives.

October 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Wow, I just love this post! I totally agree that we don't always recognize how our vision is dimming or becoming clouded. I felt this with my actual eyesight. I haven't worn glasses, and now need readers, but it took me awhile to realize this. There was a period where I don't think I quite understand that my vision was worsening, and instead I just felt "off." I usually pray before I even get out of bed. I wish "Good Morning" to God and ask him to fill me with His Spirit and guide my day. For me, this opens me to the idea that there may be elements of day that I am not expecting... possibilities that I might miss if I just power through my list. You are so right about the windows. I actually like the time of year when I remove the screens and wash the windows. The world outside suddenly becomes clearer, and it is an amazing world out there!

October 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Working from home for so many years, I have made it an effort to wake up, take a shower, wash my face, and then get ready for the day. It helps me realize the start of the day and eases me into the day. Taking the time to do this allows me to ease into the day. Thank you for the reminder to be more mindful.

October 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

@Janet- I'm so glad that this post was well-timed for you. As it turns out, it was another gloomy day in New York today too. I was mostly inside organizing at a client's house, but I did enjoy my drive home noticing the beautiful colors of the changing leaves. I hope you had a great Canadian Thanksgiving today.

October 8, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Stacey- I love that you sang "Tomorrow" to your kids...even with their eye rolls. It's one catchy song, isn't it?

Good luck with getting new lenses. I will probably be following that pattern at some point in the future, but I'm not there yet. The friends of mine with progressives like them very much. Enjoy your new clarity when it comes.

October 8, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Kim- What a great phrase you shared! I love that, "emotional weather." It's true that we can get swept away by life's fast pace. Taking the time to check in, notice, adjust, and be grateful is important for our health and well-being.

October 8, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Seana- Thank you for your kind words. Your story about getting glasses is familiar. The same thing happened to me (but it was about 20 years ago.) Since I'd never worn glasses, I didn't identify that I might need them. It took me a while to figure it out. Being able to see more clearly with them on is incredible. And it sounds like you also enjoy the window cleaning and improved view this time of year too. I love how you start your day in a lovely, spiritual way.

October 8, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Sabrina- Your morning routine sounds like it works beautifully to "ease into the day." One of the other morning rituals I love is enjoying a mug of hot tea or coffee. Especially this time of year when it's a bit chillier in the morning, it warms me up inside and gets me ready for the day. I like your word "ease." I like having a gentle start to the morning without having to rush.

October 8, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

As you might imagine, as a walker I LOVE a foggy day! It's another way to appreciate the beauty of our world. A walk clears my mind every morning.

October 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

@Ellen- I didn't know you loved foggy days. Is it better walking in the fog? I understand the benefits of walking. I don't do it nearly enough. You've inspired me to get going again.

October 9, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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