7:30 BELLS: Bridges in the Pea Patch: Creating a Discipline of Attention

In this community garden in West Seattle, mosaic tiles are tucked among the vegetables. Can you hear the exuberant conversation between the red stones and the red rhubarb? I love finding places like this, places where someone else’s vision creates a bridge that already leads halfway to the bells. All we have to do is notice and step across to hear the bells ring.

All we have to do. Sometimes that “all” is a pretty big one. How do you keep paying attention to what makes you feel most alive in the middle of all the grit of life?

There's a reason why religious orders like monastaries call practitioners to worship many times a day. (Matins. Lauds. Vespers, Compline, etc. . . . ) With all the distractions of life, we need to keep what is most important constantly in view. So 
I’m creating a disciplined practice in my life to facilitate paying attention to what makes me feel exuberantly alive.

Places do, certainly, but also books, art, ideas, kinds of work, and certain people. Commit every day to doing one thing that makes you feel alive. Reading a poem. Reading a book that points you in the direction of your passion. Dancing. Looking at a tree. Walking in the park. Meditating.

Look for the bridge.

People can be bridges, too. In this age of hyperactive connectivity, it’s important to maintain bridges to many different experiences. But I need my home place. I need to live where I can sing my best life song. That means being with people with whom I feel most at home, people who value my edges, who honor what I am trying to become. People who are bridges to ringing.

A practice of paying attention helps create bridges where there are none. This is useful not only for getting where you want to be, but also for escaping somewhere you don’t want to be. Instead of paralyzing yourself with the enormity of building a Golden Gate Bridge, just throw rocks into the water and hop across. (Mosaic stones through vegetable gardens work just fine, too.)

I want to live in a place where red rhubarb talks to red stone. Live a life tuned to hear such conversations when they happen, a life with people who know such conversations are possible and help create bridges to them.

Create a discipline of finding what brings you alive
and the bells will ring on their own.

7:30 BELLS Posts run every Tuesday.

7:30 BELLS Guest Posts run on the second Tuesday of every month. Join me on November 11 for a guest post with author Martha Brockenbrough.