Sunday, May 4, 2014

5/5/14—Experiencing Moments of Extraordinary Beauty

Let me tell you about my weekend.

I did some yard work. Walked the dogs. Rested a lot. I didn't accomplish everything on my list, but everything that needed to get done got done. It was, in fact, a completely unremarkable weekend, but for a few exceptions—extraordinary moments of presence and gratitude. 

The picture I used for this entry created one of those moments. More often than not, I watch the sunset from my front stoop with my boy, Kizzie. Sometimes I'm in the moment, but most of the time my mind wanders to chores or bills or work things or conversations I had or wish I'd had. My mind was in this soup of thought—a place it resides whenever I'm not writing or meditating—when I looked up and saw the moon between two cloud formations trying to decide whiter to be rain clouds, white clouds or pink ones. So I started taking pictures, then the moon disappeared behind a puff of cloud. So I sat there, rapt and barely breathing, with camera to eye, waiting for it to reappear again. Then I took this picture. (The moon is just a little north of center in this pic. It's hard to see when the pic is this small.)

When the shot was taken, I noticed that whatever furrowed brow I had before I saw the moon...whatever weight of thought I'd fallen under...was gone and it was replaced by a joyous grin. For a moment, I felt I wasn't just IN the moment, I'd transcended it. "Tierney" disappeared while the drama of the moon and cloud unfolded and when I returned to my body, I was revived.

I'm sure we've all had moments like this. I've just had a lot of them this past weekend. And I think I know why.

The sun, breaking through heavy cloud cover to light Kizzie perfectly. 
It all started with Friday's sunset when my soup of thought churned out, "you have the entire weekend before you and nothing HAS to be done." So I decided to proceed through the weekend with no pressure and no guilt, only gratitude. Then things started happening. The magical moment when the dark clouds broke and lit Kizzie beautifully (not to mention the big smile it gave him.) The moment where Mystic and Magick both flanked me on the deck box while I petted them and joined them on their watch for squirrels. The brief second when, on my way to my car, my nostrils filled with the scent of wisteria from across the street. All of these were one-time-only moments that could either be experienced and appreciated or hardly noticed as we shuffle forth, unconscious, lost in a stew of thought.

Each of these moments, lived consciously, not only transported me, they overwhelmed me with gratitude about the sheer awesomeness of what we get to experience here on earth. I'm getting choked up just writing about it. This place we get to live is filled with indescribable beauty. I tried, this weekend, to imagine a place more beautiful and I didn't even know where to start! The experiences we get to have here are truly magical and ever-changing, too...a buffet of love. This body we inhabit, this mind we have and the senses we use to perceive it all are a miracle. 

Just before the sun broke through on Friday. 
If you had no context to build upon, who we are and what we are would be literally beyond anything you could imagine. And we only know a fraction of the answers and all the amazing possibilities that exist. We haven't evolved enough to perceive or understand or measure what's REALLY going on out there. When you think of the billions of years and all the random interactions it took to create the galaxy, planet and bodies we inhabit, just the fact we're here to experience it all is unlikely. All those random interactions and WE get to benefit from it. It is truly a gift. How we just naturally move through life taking it all for granted is a mystery to me...another unexplainable factor of existence that keeps us from wandering this earth in a constant state of awe.

For me, these realizations were different from the mind-blowing realizations we have when
One more pic of Saturday's moon.
we start thinking about the stars in the sky, the size of the universe or how we came to be. And I've been grateful for and present in simple moments before. But the combination of giving myself permission to accomplish and think about nothing in particular, combined with my overwhelming gratitude to be me in this precise moment, somehow gave me a depth of sight I've never had before, and it gave me gift after gift each time I chose to just be present this weekend. 

We have no idea how long we'll be here. We have little control over what comes our way. But we do get to choose. We get to choose how we'll spend our limited time here and whether or not we're conscious of the beauty in ordinary moments. We get to choose how we respond to the things that cross our path—do we greet them with fear or love? And we get to decide whether or not the sun breaking through dark clouds hurts our eyes or illuminates new depths of our soul. Gratitude and conscious attention change everything. 


  1. The Joy of being. Thank you for sharing these wonderful views and perceptions.

  2. "a buffet of love" beautiful!
    Thank you for me for reminding me to be grateful and present

  3. beautiful. your last line says it so well:
    Gratitude and conscious attention change everything.
    Of all the mantras I practised this may well be the most fruitful. And why not move through this world in a state of awe? It is so astoundingly splendid. Its so good to share that with people!