If we ever bother to step outside during the hectic rhythm of our daily lives, we probably fail to truly experience what it has to offer.  We increase our chances if we go on vacation, take a trip the mountains or beach, or go camping.  I often take a day, for example, and go to a place in San Diego called Seaport Village.  I sit on what I think of as “my” bench and I just stare at the ocean.  And it helps. But I’ve been learning that the world has so much to offer right under our noses, and it’s stuff we rarely sense.  But it’s there.

Recently I spent five minutes just sitting on our backyard patio table and seeing what I could be present for, what I could notice.  What I realized is that the world beneath my crazy life is infinite.  In that five minutes, I heard wind chimes chiming, listened to the honking and roaring of traffic on a nearby street, saw the roses blowing in the breeze, watched the orange tree standing still and proud in the flowerbed across the yard, witnessed the sun moving just an inch across the sky, just enough to make the clouds take a different shape.  I heard birds and saw bugs and felt the breeze on my arms.  There was just so much going on, but I had to stop and look and make it a conscious effort to notice.  And it only took five minutes.  And I wasn’t sorry.  It was beautiful.  And it was all right there, in my own backyard.

This can happen in your classroom as well.  When the kids are working, just stop.  Focus your attention on the present moment.  Look around.  What do you see?  The kid in the third row scratching his nose?  What do you smell?  The teacher in the next room making microwave popcorn again? What do you hear?  Kids laughing and squealing in the halls outside your door.  What else do you notice?  What other world is going on just beneath your world?  What other life is constantly happening just beneath your life? 

Trust me:  It’s there.  


I was so moved and inspired by my experience on my back porch, I wrote this poem: 


There is a world

beneath our world

where the wind chimes dance

and ring

where silver sparrows whisper 

the eulogies of dying leaves

where the nearby traffic 

grumbles its way into its

smoggy oblivion

where the orange tree

stands at mute attention,

but casts a daring look

at the nearby swarm 

of hovering bees.

There is a world

beneath our world

where roses hum like a choir,

their outstretched petals raised

in reverence, their 

harmonies pure and tight. 

It is a world where the wind, 

like a genie’s carpet, 

flies in and sails by us, 

fluttering the hairs on our flesh, 

where the sun

when it moves but an inch, alters 

the multitudinous shadows.

It is a world beneath

our world that is always

alive, but is only truly

witnessed in the silence

of our profound stillness.  TZT