What It Means to See

On the virtue of seeing.

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It takes time to see the angels we must carve from the marble of our lives. It takes time to listen to the people along the way who point out the stingrays swimming in the water. It takes time to smell the magnolia tree when we are sitting on the porch in the spring. I have written about the difference between listening and hearing before. Today, I want to write about what it means to see.

Seeing in the morning.

I am tired of the conversation about “winning mornings.” I don’t find in particularly helpful right now, or really ever. “You will have a winning morning if you make your bed.” “You will have a winning morning if you wake up at 4:30 and meditate.” “You will have a winning morning if you journal immediately.” (To be clear, I am not arguing against making a bed, getting up early and meditating, or journaling.) The thought is that if you have a “winning morning” you will have a “winning day.” I am just suggesting that a day should not be won or lost before 9:00. I have chalked up many days because I have lost the morning. That does not make sense to me. I am suggesting that seeing in the morning is about having a routine that allows me to gently get going, connect with things I love, and do some kind of exercise. At my best, I don’t “win” my mornings. I see them.

Seeing at night.

I sometimes I see at 3:00 in the morning. I am talking about seeing clearly what I need to do and how I need to do it. Books I need to write. Conversations I need to have. Steps I need to take. Times when anger and distraction and noise become relative peace. This is the kind of seeing that happens with the heart. Seeing at 3:00 in the morning is not anxiety-driven insomnia. (I have both. So I know.) Seeing at 3:00 in the morning is not frantic. It is peaceful. Seeing at 3:00 in the morning does not spiral. It flows. Seeing at 3:00 in the morning means faith not fear.

On the virtue of seeing.

I understand the virtue in seeing, though I am not always the best at it. We all want to see and be seen. We all want to dance with our muse. True seeing happens with both the eyes and the heart. In nature, seeing is connecting with the beauty of the world that surrounds me. In work, seeing is writing words that are truthful and meaningful and connect with others. In my day-to-day, seeing is staying open and curios and generous and grateful. All that takes time. Connection takes time. Seeing takes time.

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