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Tag Archives: Joyce Sutphen

Seeing, Up Close Again

When we are mindful, we experience the immense detail of the ordinary world. It is a sensuous and intoxicating affair. We take the world and all its detail in through each of our senses.

Joyce Sutphen reminds us that, when we experience the immense detail of the ordinary world, we are like Gulliver in a world we have not experienced before. We have, but living at a breakneck speed can deny us the full, embodied richness of the experience.

When we slow down, we see the world and its detail fully. Seeing is the default sense we experience, but I think as we slow down  we more fully experience the world and all its details through all of our senses.

The world and we become richer a richer tapestry textured with the fullness of previously undetectable tastes, fragrances, traces upon skin, and gentle murmurs. Similar to the small child, the world and all its detail are fresh and new. We see, again and nothing is too small for our notice.

Like Gulliver in Brobdingnag, I
swooned to see again the immense
detail of the ordinary world:

the rippling surface of a fingernail,
exactly the color of a horn erupting
through the swirled-hair head of a calf,

the flayed landscape of skin where
catgut, pressing into the finger’s
tip, made a ragged canyon,

the beaten sheen of a silver ring
around the pillared finger,
dark-tarnished runes

in its patterned crevices.
Nothing was too tiny for
my hungry eye,

nothing too finely etched.
I had grown weary of smooth
honed perfection, perceived from

a distance. Now, even the smallest
stroke of ink on paper was
deep enough to fold me in.

Letting Go

Letting Go.

The closing paragraph in the article linked speaks about the journey we are and the letting go that is required in the earthly part of the journey. There is a spiritual essence to our journey, one that takes us amongst the stars.

Parker Palmer writes extensively about spending time with our self in the quietness and silence of solitude. Here, we listen to what is being said to us by our spirit. We explore the depth and nature of who we are in relationship to the world. We let go of the busyness that surrounds even briefly feeling rested in the effort.

Joyce Sutphen shared the poem How to Listen. She describes the letting go listening requires.

Tilt your head slightly to one side and lift
your eyebrows expectantly. Ask questions.

Delve into the subject at hand or let
things come randomly. Don’t expect answers.

Forget everything you’ve ever done.
Make no comparisons. Simply listen.

Listen with your eyes, as if the story
you are hearing is happening right now.

Listen without blinking, as if a move
might frighten the truth away forever.

Don’t attempt to copy anything down.
Don’t bring a camera or a recorder.

This is your chance to listen carefully.
Your whole life might depend on what you hear.

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