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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Carmen Radley

We have two plants in our new home. Christopher has been in the family for a couple of years, and Hilda was a housewarming gift from a new neighbor. Every morning I open the shades and place Christopher and Hilda near each other so they can pick up on their conversation and observations from the day before. Christopher would be a hermit if left to his own devices, and Hilda is a nosy busybody taking in all the street below has to offer and daily drama (at least she hopes) in the household. Hilda helps Christopher see life outside the pot, and Christopher provides Hilda with safe and steady support as she can be neurotic at times. Both C+H are a source of air-purifying, life-giving beings that balance each other and our home. 🍃🌱

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad

I love that you named your plants!

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I love this as well!

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author

Delightful. ❤️

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Holly Huitt, Carmen Radley

Really powerful essay. It reminds me to keep my eyes open to every gesture, every glance, every exchange, small and large. The stories are absolutely everywhere. In and around us. All at once.

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I am thankful for your essay and this prompt. Someone once said, “The writer is not the most intelligent person in the room, but the most observant.” Well you guys are probably both... I remember telling bedtime stories .to my young daughters--I would transparently elaborate on real experience, use imagination to create lovely adventures. They loved them. My younger daughter wants one day to illustrate a book of “Daddy’s Stories.” I am more an oral storyteller, so the challenge is to write... and rewrite.

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I love that your daughter wants to illustrate a book of “Daddy’s Stories”!

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Carmen Radley

I would like to recommend the book, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, by Elisabeth Tora Bailey. It doesn't sound too exciting to take the time to listen to a snail eating, or watch ants on leaves, or any number of tiny things that we might slow down enough to pay attention to, but when we do, we are usually astonished at the miniature world that passes us by on a regular basis. XOXO

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Julie, Thanks for sharing this book rec. It looks so delightful. ☺️

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When my grandsons was 2 or 3 we used to go into the garden in Florida and look for snails. As we’d walk he’d say

“I love all living things.” How it touched my ❤️

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You uncovering the ants reminded me of when I lived out in the jungle of Main Arm Northern Rivers NSW I lifted up the cushion I’d had my back up against on our day bed, while eating breakfast and there was a brown snake all curled up.

The possibility of the brown snake being there every morning and trusting me and me being oblivious. I put the cushion back and didn’t check again but sat there each morning in full trust.

Love reading your work.

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Carmen Radley

I'm now in the middle of rereading Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic (love it!) where she also talks about paying attention, listening and not allowing the moment or idea that appears to go away. Our thoughts and observations hold the potential to turn into magic if we give them enough space. 💕

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Thank you Evelyn I just ordered Elizabeth’s book to read by the ocean in vacation! Need this! 🫶🏼

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Great. I think you will enjoy it. Gilbert is easy to read and funny too. Have a lovely vacation!

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I am rereading Big Magic right now too, love it so much 💕

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I find with creating, writing and performing my true stories, by my not memorizing the stories when I perform, new parts of the story appear each time I tell the same story. Because it’s from my honest memory , and no memorization it allows space for new insights to appear. Plus I learn a lot of why I’ve done some of the things I’ve done. Why did I throw away my wedding. Album? Whey did I throw away a gorgeous gypsy dress I loved, and why did I throw away a beautiful quilt, my surrogate mother, Nancy made for me while she was taking care of me when my had a complete breakdown. When I was younger, I realized I threw things out to relieve my pain. Kind of like when people cut themselves for relief from pain. Thru my honest storytelling I began to realize that at my age looking back, I could now hold the pain, understand why the pain came up and eventually let go of the pain, and I no longer had to throw things away , that I actually loved, to give me relief from pain. What a journey in observation and truth telling.

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Carmen Radley

love, love, love this! I work hard at putting down the distractions and really looking at what is happening around me.... big or small, obvious or not! I love finding the un-obvious with wonderment and amazement. Some days I have to work a little harder at it. I used to think I needed exciting things in my life day in and day out for it to be good... the older I get, the more I realize, it is how I choose to look at my world that makes it exciting! I love reading your essays and everyone's comments! Thank you for my Sunday morning read, it feels great with that first cup of coffee! HUGS!

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❤️❤️❤️

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Carmen Radley

I really love this prompt. This week I wrote a flash memoir piece and I was focusing on exactly this; a tiny moment that signified so much more. Communicating that is not always easy! I've also been watching ants lately, I'm on a work retreat in Andalucia and you can't sit down outside for two minutes without some ants showing up 😂

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Carmen Radley

if perchance these were leaf-cutter ants they were farming fungi...love "wrangling magic from the mundane"

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Leaf cutters farming fungi? Love this and hope that’s what they were!

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Carmen Radley

I’ve been sitting here trying to think of an ordinary experience and each thought leads to something unexpected. Just walking the dogs around my neighborhood can lead to something to see. Last week I took my routine drive to the local post office for my mail. Sometimes I take the side road just to shake things up. It’s a few miles too and a few miles back. Sometimes I do a Dunkin run for a coffee. Same thing! Different day. Well, I was on my way home from the post office and decided to turn onto the side road. Canterbury is a rural farming town. It is pretty on the surface. Lots of wildlife. This day, sadly there was a fox kit in the road that had been hit and was deceased. I love the foxes and I felt sad. A few feet away I see three kits very near the road. One was trotting to the road. I didn’t see an adult so I was concerned. And so nervous. I decided to call a wildlife rehabber to check. She answered right a way and was coming to check. I told her I would stay til she arrived. I was able to watch them up close for awhile which was magic. Being that close. I didn’t interfere. Didn’t touch anything. I’m not a rehabber. Rehabbers have licenses and have had rabies vaccines.

It was a beautiful spot and the kits didn’t seem that afraid. Mother fox did come back while I was there in my car. So I left cause mother became very anxious when she saw me. I did message the rehabber. We were relieved they weren’t orphans. The family did have mange and the rehabber got permission from the property owners to treat them. I did see the kits sleeping in the field another day on my way to the post office. I hope they got their medicine and will be healthy.

Rehabbers are ordinary people who are truly extraordinary. They get training that is offered one day a year by the State DEEP. They use all their own resources and money and devote their own time and money into saving injured and orphaned wildlife. They don’t get a paycheck. They depend on donations. This time of year they are all full with intakes. So if there are any rehabbers in this community. Thank you!

And nature is extraordinary. Life is magnificent. So many wonders if you just stop and see.

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So many wonders. ❤️

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Carmen Radley

Stopping, watching, wondering.

I learned to make this habit a priority during our “100 Day Project” that started in April 2022. To this day, I notice more, appreciate more, and am forever changed. The beauty is all around, no matter what is going on. “Like a rag on the head”.

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So wonderful to hear. ❤️

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Carmen Radley

The art of observation is something I need in my life. It’s too easy to let the days whip by and then wonder where all of the years went. My youngest of five graduated high school a few weeks ago. As we prepare for her party and look through photos and reminisce, I am saddened by how much I truly do not remember from those early years. I was not in the moment. I was not observing and savoring. I was simply surviving. Thank you for this beautiful essay and prompt 💚

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Carmen Radley

I so appreciate today’s prompt! Taking note of life all around us fills me with wonder and brings me happiness. I have been saying to myself these days, “I am an organism,” as a reminder that I am of the Earth, not apart from it. Thank you!

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad, Carmen Radley

I believe the bar is called “The Cowboy Bar” if it was in Jackson Hole and the bar seating was actually saddles- it was that way back in the 1980’s. That entire area around the downtown through to the mountain tops was a wonderful place to experience seeing and listening to all things around you. Don’t know if it was the elevation or the sheer beauty of the simple things that make it what it was, but it was the most serene place I have visited.

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Carmen Radley

I suspect there are many “Cowboy Bars” in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, etc. Each with a story to tell. I just added mine.

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Jun 5, 2023Liked by Suleika Jaouad

I was actually at The Cowboy Bar last September and yes, the bar seating is still saddles!

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Carmen Radley

I love the following story I read in Stephen Cope's book, The Great Work of Your Life, of one gifted observer, Jane Goodall, who, at a very young age watched the "ordinary", with patient, kind attention to see the extraordinary:

"From an early age, Jane was drawn to animals and to the natural world. Here, in an excerpt from her autobiography, she recounts a tale of her life as a four-year-old on the family farm in the English countryside. One of my tasks was to collect the hens’ eggs. As the days passed, I became more and more puzzled. Where on a chicken was there an opening big enough for an egg to come out? Apparently no one explained this properly, so I must have decided to find out for myself. I followed a hen into one of the little wooden henhouses—but of course, as I crawled after her she gave horrified squawks and hurriedly left. My young brain must have then worked out that I would have to be there first. So I crawled into another henhouse and waited, hoping a hen would come in to lay. And there I remained, crouched silently in one corner, concealed in some straw, waiting. Jane then—at four years of age, mind you—waited patiently for hours, simply observing what was happening with the bird. Meanwhile, outside the henhouse, her family was in a panic. Where was Baby Jane? Jane continues her narration: At last, a hen came in, scratched about in the straw, and settled herself on her makeshift nest just in front of me. I must have kept very still or she would have been disturbed. Presently the hen half stood and I saw a round white object gradually protruding from the feathers between her legs. Suddenly with a plop, the egg landed on the straw. With clucks of pleasure the hen shook her feathers, nudged the egg with her beak, and left. It is quite extraordinary how clearly I remember that whole sequence of events. What comes next is important. Jane had been missing for over four hours. The household had taken to search-and-rescue mode. Excited, Jane rushed out of the henhouse, eager to tell her story. When her mother, Vanne, saw Jane, she rushed to her. … despite her worry, when Vanne [Jane’s mother] saw the excited little girl rushing toward the house, she did not scold me. She noticed my shining eyes and sat down to listen to the story of how a hen lays an egg: the wonder of that moment when the egg finally fell to the ground. Where in the world did this mother come from? Where was the spanking I would have received—and would have thought perfectly justified? Rather: “She noticed my shining eyes.” ...We rely on others to see our shining eyes. Without this mirroring, we cannot understand the meaning or import of our fascination. By the time she was four years old, Jane’s gift for animals had already been seen...Said Jane as an adult, “I was lucky to be provided with a mother wise enough to nurture and encourage my love of living things and my passion for knowledge.”

Cope, Stephen. The Great Work of Your Life (pp. 30-32). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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