In her inspiring book, 'Finding Water', Julia Cameron sets readers the task to "observe five lovely things" on a daily basis. I was working my way through this book last Spring towards my 'deferred dream' and thought that Julia's exercise
was a wonderful way to stay connected with the world.
The first day was no problem and then I became busy and realised how difficult it can be during the hurly burly of a busy schedule to stop for even a second to mentally note down the beauty that is all around us. The little things which, once observed, lift the spirit and gladden the heart. It is so easy to remain blinkered, particularly in moments of life-crisis, or depression, or worry.
So I set myself a daily ritual: bought a little desk calender and in it jotted 'lovely things observed'. I created two pages for each week in my journal and used a rubber label stamp for each day (four on each page) and a final one that summarised the week. Once a week I copied in my lovely things, and used the space at the side to comment upon my entries. Sometimes I have to remind myself to LOOK, but find that cumulatively these observations impact on my creativity - any one lovely thing may be the spark to ignite a poem, or a visual artefact ... whatever.
I don't always succeed, there have been lapses since I began last March, but beauty is always there and often catches me unawares. Some days I only record a single thing. I recommend this simple way to open our eyes to lovely things. To readers of this posting, do record what you observe - and I would so love to hear some of your own observations.
My lovely thing observed today was the hoar frost on all the hazel bushes in my garden, with catkins already elongating despite the cold; no longer the hard little bunches but almost ready to spray their yellow pollen over the crimson stamens of the embryonic nuts to come in the Autumn.