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Practice Day 33: What/Who must I look AT today? (Rather than away).

Theme/Mantra: “What/Who must I look AT today? (rather than AWAY)


Like they Say by Robert Creeley

Underneath the tree on some

soft grass I sat, I

watched two happy

woodpeckers be dis-

turbed by my presence. And

why not. I thought to

myself. Why



When you settle into your meditation space, take a few cleansing breaths.

Ask yourself, “What/Who do I avoid looking at?”

(Perhaps nothing?)

If answers come, sit with each one, and ask yourself, “why?”

Homeless people you pass on the street?

People paying with food stamps at the grocery store?

Politicians when they are speaking?

Your neighbor as they pull in the driveway?

Explore what is going on in your heart and mind as you consider each one.

This is not an exercise of judgement, so try hard to not feel critical of yourself in this exercise.

But rather seek to understand your actions.

Sit with that understanding.

Breathe cleansing breaths as you say to yourself, “To all that has been, thank you. To all that will be, Yes!” (quote from Dag Hammerskjold).

Physical Movement:

Neck Rolls and Spinal Twist

Sit with your back straight, head upright.

Exhale and drop your head forward with your chin toward your chest.

Slowly roll your right ear over your right shoulder.

Hold for a few breaths, until you feel the left side of your neck release.

Slowly drop your chin toward your chest again.

Roll your left ear over your left shoulder.

Hold, until the right side of your neck releases.

Repeat once on both sides.

Work hard to maintain steady breathing, and keep your pace of rolling slow and intentional.

Now sit erect, with your legs extended.

Fold your left leg into half butterfly position.

Cross your right foot over your left thigh about midway between knee and hip.

Inhale and bring your left arm around the outside of your right knee.

Grasp your right knee.

Exhale and rotate your trunk to the right.

Keep your shoulders level to one another.

Place your right palm behind you on the floor.

Turn your head and gaze over your right shoulder.

Hold for one full minute.

Release and then repeat on the other side, holding for a full minute.


We sometimes choose to look away from things. From People. In certain situations. Each of us has different reasons and different things we can watch. I struggle to look at people embarrassing themselves. And I can’t watch violence- even when I know the violence is not real (like in movies). There are a number of reasons for this, but it does make for difficult decisions on movie selections on family movie nights.

I can’t listen to most politicians. I can read what they say, but I can’t look at them as they speak- particularly when they speak BS (and no matter what side of the aisle you are on, many politicians fit this description). Others have trouble looking at people who are in pain. Who are homeless, or moving through the last stages of life. Maybe they can't look at their life partners anymore.

Sometimes we struggle to look AT because we are afraid of what we will reveal about ourselves. If we look at the other, then the other is also looking at us, and OMG what will they see? What indeed.

The Indigo Girls song certainly places shame in the midst of things. I wonder how you interpret this song. Shame on who for what? Who is going unseen? The immigrant? The Queer? The window washers? I am challenged to sit with my discomforts in looking AT- not to hold shame- but to be aware of my prejudices. The sources of my discomforts.

So that I might be like Robert Creeley- with a clear conscience- not concerned with the disturbance he creates for the woodpeckers. And why not? Why shouldn’t they be disturbed?

Song: Shame on You by Indigo Girls


My friends they wash the windows

And they shine in the sun

They tell me wake up early in the morning sometime

See what a beautiful job we've done

I say let's put on some tunes

Sing a long and do little all day

Go down to the riverside take off our shoes

And wash these sins away

And the river said

La la la it said shame on you

And the river said

La la la it said shame on you

I go down to Chicano City park

Cause it makes me feel so fine

And when the weeds go down you can see up close

In the dead of the winter time

But when the summer comes everything's in bloom

And you wouldn't know it's there

And the white folks like to pretend it's not

But their music's in the air

And you can hear 'em singing

La la la they said shame on you

You can feel em dancing

La la la they said shame on you

My friend Tanner she says you know

Me and Jesus we're of the same heart

The only thing that keeps us distant

Is that I keep fuckin' up

I said come on down to Chicano City park

And wash your blues away

The beautiful ladies walk right by

You know i never know what to say

And they'll be singing

Ooo la la la la la la la la shame on you

And they'll be dancing

Ooo la la la they said shame on you

Shame on you

Let's go road block trippin in the middle of the night

Up in Gainesville town

There'll be blue lights flashin down the long dirt road

When they ask me to step out

They say we've been looking for illegal immigrants

Can we check your car?

I say you know it's funny

I think we were on the same boat back in 1694

And I said

Ooo la la la la la la la la shame on you

They'll be dancing

La la la i said shame on you

I said

Ooo la la la la la la la la la la shame on you

Shame on you la la

La la la la la shame on you

I said

I said

La la la shame on you

I'll be dancing

And they'll be singing

La la la i said shame on you

Shame on you

Road block trippin in the middle of the night

Gainesville town

Blue lights flashin down the long dirt road

Until Tomorrow- Peace

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