Traveling Through Life with “Soft Eyes”

(Anne supplied me with “sky” landscape scenes from Dingle, Ireland….they are all so beautiful I couldn’t choose just one so I narrowed it down to three and will share them all…enough to “soften” anyone’s eyes!)

Dear Reader:

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.” How beautifully true….very few of us make it through a day without pausing and looking up at the sky. There is an inexplicable connection between us and the universe manifested in the ever-changing canvas of our earthly ceiling.

In an article (“The Practice of Soft Eyes”) I read recently by Parker Palmer… he conversed about an observation that I have become recently aware of myself….that when confronted by sudden change, someone unknown at the door, a sudden change in routine…” there is a sudden narrowing of our visual periphery that exacerbates the fight or flight response.”

Think back to the old John Wayne westerns; every time he was confronted by a “bad man” Wayne’s eyes would suddenly narrow and he would pull out his trusty old rifle or his six-shooters and start firing away. It made for good movies but in real life…these evolutionary ‘fight or flight’habits provoke unrest in society and in our personal lives.

The daily chemo regime I am on plays havoc with my eyes…which constantly water so I find myself squinting and dabbing at my eyes more and more. As we get older our eyes do seem to shrink instead of remaining wide-eyed and pronounced.

If I ever catch an unexpected glimpse of me, reflected in a store window or whatever, I am always startled at the image…where are my eyes now…they seem to be shrinking faster and faster?

Yet inside me….my eyes are filled more with wonder and awe at life’s discoveries now than in any other period of my life. They should be big and round. When I mentioned this thought to Anne…she wisely replied…“I think at a certain stage we can just see more with less.”  Good response.

I do want my itty bitty eyes to at least look soft and not hard. It is the “soft” look we give loved ones, beautiful landscapes (including the sky) and new experiences we fall in love with….all seen by our new soft eyes…welcoming changes in our lives.

Palmer concludes his article with this thought:

“Soft eyes, it seems to me, is an evocative image for what happens when we gaze on sacred reality. Now our eyes are open and receptive, able to take in the greatness of the world and the grace of great things. Eyes wide with wonder, we no longer need to resist or run when taken by surprise. Now we can open ourselves to the great mystery.”

So until tomorrow…Let us look on our world with soft surroundings imaged within our heart and soul…open to new possibilities…each and every day.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

My eyes stayed soft (still watery) but soft all day yesterday looking at my grandchildren’s pictures returning back to school. For Rutledge it was a big change…from his small little Pre-School to Phillip Simmons Elementary with 28 other kindergarten classmates. A big change…yet his eyes were wide open with excitement yesterday morning. Eva Cate is returning to James B Edwards and a year filled with much growth and new possibilities.

Lachlan and Jakie are heading back to their small, secure little Pre-Schools where they know everyone….still Jakie (like Linus) feels more secure with his blankey “Night Night.” Eloise still gets to stay home now with mom each day so she is happy too. Slow changes or fast changes…yesterday was a new beginning for all.

“Soft” Eyes to all my “babies” growing up too fast! Love you, Boo!

* Heard from Ambika, one of our blog family, who is home visiting her family in India with her small son and latest little baby boy…they are caught up in the same monsoons and flooding like Anne’s brother. So let’s keep those prayers coming!

Last evening Luke was trying out a new camera his mom gave him. I had just discovered my second moon flower bloom….so he came over to take some pictures. Every time I see a moon flower bloom it is as if I am seeing it for the first time ever again. There is something just magical about this big “moon” flower emerging in such a short period of time and then staying for such a short time. It makes it even more special and precious. Thanks Luke for trying out the camera on my moon flower blossom!!!!! Great shots!!!!!!!



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Traveling Through Life with “Soft Eyes”

  1. bcparkison says:

    It’s agood thing we can’t put a hold on the changes we see. Our grands truely are growing by leaps and bounds right before our weepy eyes. I don’t remember my own sons growing so fast.
    The moon flower is nice. I once “thought” I was planting one and it turned out to be a vine that took over everything. I pays to be sure what we are gifted in plants.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I think we have all made those mistakes…like I will just plant a little bamboo or wisteria around the yard…yeah right! Help I am drowning in bamboo and wisteria!

      Liked by 1 person

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