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Archive for June, 2018

A ‘sit spot’ is a place outdoors that you go to on a regular basis and sit quietly—at least three, preferably more, days every week. The idea, as taught by Jon Young author of What the Robin Knows , is to be in this spot often enough that the birds and animals get habituated to your presence and carry on around you, rather than fly/run off because of you. With time, you are able to create a new understanding and deeper relationship with the animals and plants in that space of land. I have tried a few places as my sit spot, but never stuck to any one in particular.

This morning I am on the deck with my computer on my lap, so I can be outside while working. It’s been about 14 years that I’ve been doing this. What I’ve seen here has made its way into many an essay, as my seat is directly between a favorite tree of the local birds and the sunflower seed feeder. I have birds fly so close as to almost hit me in the head—Tufted Titmouse, Goldfinch, and most often Chickadees who are not particularly concerned with humans anyway. One Chickadee even landed on the back of the chair I was sitting in. Another time one flew into the screen on the door and was knocked out cold, so I picked him up, gave him some Reiki and off he flew. Hummingbirds have hummed in my ear. Chipmunks have eaten from my hand. The other day a Mourning Dove landed on the railing and looked me in the eye while singing her song of mourn. I’ve watched Robins feed their young and Phoebes fly for their first time. I’ve also watched Deer graze, Fox trot, Hawks soar, Bats echolocate and Owls observe. Last year there was a nest of Ravens close by and one baby talked nonstop, seriously nonstop. This morning I saw an Indigo Bunting in the apple tree. According to “On This Day” on Facebook, a couple years ago I saw an Oriole in the same tree and captured it in a photo that made the cover of The Healing Springs Journal. A couple mornings ago there was a black squirrel underneath the bird feeder. That’s right, a black squirrel. The beauty of this creature truly caught my interest. We’ve had black squirrels in the past, but I haven’t seen one in a couple years. According to the Internet, the estimation is a black squirrel happens 1 in every 100,000 squirrels. It is not a new species but an eastern grey squirrel that expresses an unusual amount of black pigment, or melanin. Oh lovely, a Blue Heron is now flying overhead. My sightings could go on and on. They are what make life enjoyable for me, so my eyes and senses are keenly attuned to seeing them.

Our culture places great value on goals—defining, working on and then reaching them. It had been a goal of mine to find a sit spot. As I said earlier, I never stuck with any one location (and it has to be the same place over and over.) This lack of follow through had at times disappointed me. As I reminisce over all that I’ve seen from right here on the porch, it’s obvious that I’ve had a sit spot all along—the deck, yet hadn’t named it as such. Our goal seeking sometimes distracts us from what we already have available to us. This can happen in our self-improvement, while we search for ways to become ‘better’, overlooking what awesomeness we already are. A similar idea is exploring a city or country far from home without ever having done the same in the locations we live. Or telling our dogs how to behave, without observing what they are already doing that is perfect. Or, reading about bird behavior in a book, without paying attention to what the birds are doing right next to us. My point ultimately is that sometimes we miss the obvious when focused on a goal or end result. For instance, I had thought it necessary to find a sit spot somewhere else, missing the fact that almost every day I sat on my porch observing tons of wildlife behavior.

In what areas of your life are you searching for better, when something unnamed, yet just as satisfying, is already in your daily living? Most likely you’ll find the answer in the areas of your greatest disappointment or dissatisfaction. It is often in these places where we miss what is already there. Perhaps the Gods of Disappointment have sense of humor or maybe it’s that we are often disappointed when we have attached to a specific, and often romantic, result and hence are looking only for a certain scenario. Remember to keep your mind exceptionally open, for its necessary to see the old with new eyes. Once you’ve seen it, keep the awareness close to your heart, knowing we are always provided for.

A caveat if you are interested in finding your own sit spot; the kind of peace experienced by simply watching the world around us tends to wane motivation for the priorities of modern life. You may end up following the words of the poet Mary Oliver in her poem The Lark; “…Squander the day, but save the soul…” Doing so is contrary to the messages we receive regularly from outside, which say ‘buy this’ ‘do more’ ‘be better.’ And yet, the modern world could use people that have genuine peace at their core. Or as the Dalai Lama says “The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.” So, go, find your peace in whatever way you can—a sit spot or dancing with friends. How doesn’t matter, that you bring peace to the world does.

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