The Investment of Appreciation and it’s Generous Return

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
— Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)

Oh the glorious mystery of appreciation!  I have found that is it a strange affliction, almost out of control and expanding with no end in sight.

Bend leaves

Leaves in Transition…

Over the years as I learned to deliberate focus and education and practice, to appreciate small, benign almost insignificant things around me, my appreciation muscle has grown.  It became normal for me to see wonder and beautiful nature in the falling down wire fence and overgrown weeds, perhaps mixed with flowers, along my runs and bike rides in Oklahoma.  To find joy in the expanse of skies and parched red earth and south wind that blew freely, shaping the trees in that familiar lean towards the north.  Piles of junk in country acreage, that actually tells some sort of story of the midwest.  Much not impressive at first glance, but when you APPRECIATE, and feel it in your bones, the world becomes beautiful.  The way the clouds and light interact… In Oklahoma the leaves don’t offer much change before the winter north wind sweeps them away, but with APPRECIATION you can see every subtle shade and contrast with sky and earth.  My love of Oklahoma skies and vistas though could not have prepared me for what gifts awaited our arrival in Bend.

Running in the Rain

Running in the Rain

So tuned in was I already to the small beauties, that here, it is almost sensory overload.  Like a blind person who sees for the first time or a deaf person who hears for the first time….  I seriously can hardly breathe at times on a normal drive to the store, let alone when I am out on a run or on my bike truly feeling connected.  It is why I stop several times during each to take it in, or photograph it, why I go crazy when my phone is too full to capture the moment to share with you.  The appreciation I have nurtured is truly giving back to me exponentially.  The colors and scope and variety of plants and animals and water and landscapes and shapes of rocks and textures, and the Scents- oh my!  I say this not to make you wish you were here, but more to inspire you to consciously seek appreciation where YOU are. Deliberate, focused enjoyment of things that maybe the world doesn’t consider pretty or special.  Do it. It will enrich your life today and if you do venture to a new place, will make it that much more an extraordinary gift.

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