A Tiny Way

This is a spiritual practice that may not be available to you if you are still under multiple feet of snow. But save it for some hot summer day – be patient, those days will come!

This is an outdoor activity that I started doing when I was running Vacation Bible Schools, but I have continued to do it with my own children, and as a spiritual practice, especially when I feel overwhelmed.

Make a string or a rope (or a shallow box with the bottom cut out) to create a rectangle about a foot on each side. Plop the boundary you just created down in the middle of a plot of grass or some other vegetation. Now get comfortable so that you can see the space clearly.

You are going to watch. For 20 minutes. Just watch. Notice the color of the grass. Notice the bugs that wander in and out. See the effect of the breeze. Watch beads of water evaporate.

And what will you get from looking at a square of grass? Wonder (there is almost always some interesting activity). A break from staring at a screen. Your breathing will slow, and you will improve your oxygen level. You will become aware of your body (and possibly need to change position). You will re-evaluate your place in the world. The space may seem still for minutes at a time; until you notice something begin to change. You might get a little bored – and when was the last time you had that happen? You will likely be reminded of how complex the natural world can be. You might get a great idea or an insight. Or maybe not. But you will be a little changed when you get up.

I have done this activity with hundreds of people, from age 2 (with an older partner) to age 80. In every group, someone has had a life-changing insight. And if you don’t, you have quieted body and soul for twenty minutes and contemplated something beyond yourself. Truly a blessing from the Creator!

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