Attending

Leo in the Pine Woods. Standing-With-Trees Practice, anyone?*

I know I can walk through the world,

along the shore or under the trees,

with my mind filled with things

of little importance, in full

self-attendance. A condition I can’t really

call being alive.

I Happened to Be Standing, Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

Oliver is adamant, ‘being alive’ isn’t possible if all thought and yes, attention, is being given to the self. While well-being does require self-awareness, this is not to be pursued by excluding the rest of the world.

Self and Other. Leo and Tree. Altogether now—–

*Standing-With-Trees Practice: ‘We can take our cues from trees as we stand. They really know how to be in one place for a very long time, yet they manage to be in the timeless present, however old or young they may be. It can be helpful to just stand next to a tree for a period of time, and practice standing outside of time. Imagine experiencing the light the tree is experiencing, feeling the air the tree is feeling, standing on the soil in which the tree resides, inhabiting the same moment the tree is inhabiting. Be fully in your body, imagining, if not actually feeling, that your feet are connected to the ground, and that your head is elevated with a sense of grace and ease toward the sky.’ (That’s Jon Kabat-Zinn, from his most recent book, Falling Awake.)

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