Sometimes where we look makes all the difference.
I remember one fall afternoon, in my early twenties, I shifted my gaze from the ground to eye level. Like Robert Frost choosing a road, this subtle shift of attention made all the difference. It was as if my life went from being lived in two dimensions to being lived in three dimensions. An imagined boundary between myself and the world had been erased. When I would look at the ground, I was living in my thoughts, now I was living in the world.
I had always been in the world, connected to others, I just hadn’t noticed. My attention had previously been on my mental chatter – the constant analyzing, planning, worrying, and general overthinking. I was missing so much – smiling faces, majestic and not-so-majestic trees, the watercolor sky, and most importantly, the opportunity to feel myself as a part of things. From that moment forward, I made it a habit to look forward, to deliberately no longer blind myself due to an unskillful focus.
As we move into the new year, we often make resolutions or form intentions. Maybe this year we can notice if where we are looking is moving us toward greater connection or disconnection to those around us?
The question now is, where will you set your gaze in 2016?