Look at, view, consider

This week as my Tai Chi class came to a close, our instructor reminded us of the importance of practicing our breathing and strengthening exercises daily. Then she added another suggestion, “Take time to look around you but look with your heart.”

My first thought was, “How do I do that?” I often look at something in nature, a photograph or a treasured item and I am aware of how I feel during that time, but is that looking with my heart? I left class as I continued to contemplate looking with my heart but as I returned home, plans for dinner and watching fireworks pushed those thoughts to the “save this for later” part of my brain.

During the recent weeks there have been seemingly unending events and media reports which have brought concern and worry to many including myself. Am I disinfecting enough? Is this mask really protecting me from the coronavirus? Will there be too many people where I want to go?

Recognizing these kinds of thoughts only seem to bring feelings of increased stress to me which can lead to feeling fearful or angry at the world, I consider all the ways to be safe and still enjoy an evening watching fireworks while preparing dinner.

As we arrived at Conn Brown Harbor, Huff Street parking was full but I noticed everyone appeared to be staying inside their vehicles as requested. Continuing around the harbor, the planned viewing spot on Allen Blvd was full also.

As we reached Harbor Point Park, vehicles were parked in the the spaces and no one was milling around. Instead of the type of scenes being shown on television with crowds of people ignoring social distancing, our friends, neighbors and visitors were following the suggested guidelines. I felt safe.

We found a place to park and before long the fireworks began. As I watched and listened to the patriotic music, it was easy to forget this was the year of COVID-19. My eyes never left the display of color and light above me. I clapped and cheered with everyone as the show concluded.

After returning home, I checked the photos I had taken then went to social media to see videos and posts by others. As I scrolled, it seemed like I was missing something. Where was the feeling I had as I watched the fireworks?

Then I saw it! A friend posted a video clip of her two year old daughter as she experienced seeing fireworks for the first time. As her daddy held her, she was looking toward the sky with her eyes wide open. Her small mouth was slightly open and I could hear her soft ahhs then louder wows. She held her small hands together just below her face then when her facial expressions appeared not to believe what what she was seeing, she would clap and clap.

I finally understood. She was looking with her heart and I realized I had done the same as my eyes were transfixed for the full 15 minutes of the aerial display. I had looked with my heart and saw my husband, family, community and country all within the brilliance of the fireworks.

One day…pyrotechnics…one small child … comprehension.

Look with your heart.