year of living copyThe great cathedral space which was childhood… — Virginia Woolf


Laura writes: Each of my three sons has gone through a stage of collecting rocks. They are small, plain, garden-variety rocks that are gathered from the yard, the woods, the edges of the roadway running in front of our house. I never collected rocks, so when my oldest son began this stage, I didn’t recognize the preciousness of the rocks, which looked to me like ordinary, dirt-covered stones. I learned otherwise when I made the mistake of throwing out a motley collection of the little beige rocks.

With tears in his eyes, my oldest son, Christopher, sat me down when he was four. “Call the police. I have some bad news,” he said solemnly. “Someone robbed our house.” I looked at him askance, eyebrows raised. “They stoled my rock collection,” he said. Fortunately, I recognized the gravity of the situation; had I not been watching his face, I might have chuckled. I suggested Christopher look in his room, and while he was upstairs, I quickly dug the rocks from the trashcan and called to him that I’d found them (I couldn’t bear to admit that I’d thrown them away. It suddenly seemed like an outrageous sin). He ran downstairs happily and sat with me, pointing out the special features of each pebble, fifteen or twenty in all. I’d never noticed the many varying shades, the different surface textures, the exquisite variations in size and shape.

Sometimes it takes a child’s eyes—or the eyes of someone who hasn’t forgotten to see the world with the freshness and leaning toward the precious that a child possesses—to really see what surrounds you. I often wonder, now, what I might be missing around me—and although my house sometimes seems overrun with rocks, I haven’t thrown out a pebble in years.

What things of beauty aren’t you seeing in your world?


Today, take five or ten minutes, outside if possible, and free your mind of the limits of seeing through an adult’s eyes. Imagine that you are a child again, or someone new to the earth—look at the trees, the plants, the flowers, the earth, the sky…and yes, the rocks—with an eye for their beauty. Spend time seeing and feeling the different sizes, shapes, textures, and colors of all that surrounds you. What can you take from this in terms of your own size, your own shape, the texture and color of your life?

Purchase “A Year of Living Consciously” by clicking the cover below: