On Paying Attention

Several years ago, I dreamt that I found a basement in my home. One that I had never known existed. It was an expansive space and half of it sat above the ground and the other half below.

This facilitated a curious mixture of light and dark and I wandered around this newly found space in a daze of awe. Intricate crystal chandeliers hung in multitudes and sparkled from a ceiling that was at times unexpectedly low and other times towering high above my head exposing a vast array of works of art.

Extravagantly decorated, the room bore a resemblance to those found at such places as the Versailles Palace in France.

Ornate, woven, expensive fabrics adorned the windows with heavy beautiful drapes – drawn to splash against the play of light and shadows. The rugs were of the finest quality – woven carefully, intricately, filled with many shapes and colors – obviously delicately, painstakingly created by masters of the finest training.

Laden on the its many shelves were handcrafted golden balls, bells, bears, angels, trumpets, birds and beyond. I soon realized it would take days to see it all.
The aroma was of cookies and trees and sweet smelling dogs I have known and of love and warmth and understanding.

How did I not know this was in my very own home? And from where did these precious artifacts come?

Then I noticed a long, thick, antique table also filled with treasures, including three distinctly mechanical, soldier-like, holiday nutcrackers standing at least four feet high. They were busily stepping in unison, intent and focused on the task at hand – left, right, left, right, moving in tireless repetition.

I was fascinated. How long had they been marching in place oblivious to the world around them? How did they persist, not missing a beat, with their eyes fixed straight ahead?
The dream has stayed with me for years as many of my dreams do and is recorded carefully in a journal. All kinds of important Jungian thoughts and interpretations come to mind as I think of this but enough of that for now.

At this reflective time of the end and beginning of two years, I like to revisit this strange reverie to simply remind myself of the riches of my own life (those I have discovered and those yet to be realized) that I do not take time to appreciate.

Choosing instead, to move forward like a monotonous, high stepping nutcracker getting another day done and thus, often missing all that I have to be grateful for in my life– friends, family, loved ones, special moments, a wonderful job, an incredible husband, a funny and happy dog, a warm bed and food in my tummy (just to name a few).
Most of it comes to down to this.


So as the year winds up, I hope to stop the madness of mechanically checking off all the things to do on my list and collapsing exhausted at the end of the day. And instead take the time to explore what surrounds me, waiting patiently just to be noticed, if I can just simply stop and take heed of the abundance that quietly beckons my attention.

Strong Winds Possible

The sign appeared more than once as we traveled from Hilton Head Island to Beaufort, SC.  But almost always on long bridges across the waterway.  Strong winds possible.


Finally, I had to call the question.  So, I said, to my husband.   What does it mean?  Strong winds possible.

He shrugged, perplexed (a usual state I thrust him into).  Strong winds possible?  So, it means, “Strong winds possible.”

But, of course, it seemed incredibly redundant and unnecessary.  Anything is possible.  Why don’t they put these signs everywhere if they put them anywhere?

And then, just 40 minutes later.  There we were. Walking across the middle of the street in Beaufort, SC, chatting and sightseeing when the silver car pulled up beside us and a voice yelled from within, “Crissy and Trey?”  And there from four hours up north, following a dinner speech where she received a well-deserved honor for her tremendous work in the promotion of diversity, was our beautiful, “adopted” daughter, Kinneil.  And we smiled and hugged and took a picture for our Facebooks and later I thought about all the history that it took to get us three together at that exact same moment in time.

Beginning, not with where we grew up, and where we went to school and how we first came together in the first place – us souls who became like family.  But just how it happened that we were in Beaufort, crossing the street, with Kinneil driving by at that exact moment in time that could have easily not have happened if one stop light had turned green or red, someone had slept in or gotten up early, one extra moment at the convenience store had happened or one car ahead was going a little too slow or fast, or just one little teeny tiny, itsy bitsy change in schedule and we would have missed the whole chance encounter. Or in the bigger picture, one of those seemingly small and insignificant things had occurred and we had never met at all.

Strong winds are probable.  Not just possible.  Never believe they are not blowing you exactly where you should be.  We just have to be paying attention all the time and trusting those winds – great or small.