Opportunity

on

woodpecker

It looked like it was surrounded by a halo, as though what it was and what it was doing had been lifted out of the mundane quest for food into a sacred moment of some kind. Because it was so intent on what it was doing – searching for bugs – I managed to get a shot of it before it flittered away.

Every waking moment, we are assaulted by our senses. Sounds, images, textures, smells – they are all around us, weaving their way into our consciousness. Sometimes, we get lost in something we are doing and experience the phenomenon identified by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book, Flow; The Psychology of Optimal Experience. But mostly, we function without really paying attention to one or another of our senses, even gobbling our food down before we’ve really had the chance to savour what it is we are eating.

In every one of those same moments awaits an opportunity. The root of the word opportunity lies in Old French and Latin. In Latin, opportunus is derived from the phrase ob portum veniens, meaning “coming toward a port.” It is choosing, from a vast shoreline, something to focus upon, a place to direct one’s attention. We can “halo” any input, any part of a moment, and find something sacred, something that gets to the essence of what is.

Take a moment. Look out your window and let your eyes focus on something. Or tune in to a particular part of your body or what you are doing this very moment. What do you see? What do you feel? How is your body being attentive in this moment? Practice making your attention shift and move from within you to something outside of you, and back again. Find a new port for this moment, a place you can rest.

And breathe.

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