dark-eyed junco on a deckIf you’re willing to be patient and present – to wait a bit in the unknown – you’ll perceive the blessings showing up. No matter where you live, you can find life and inspiration; even on a busy urban street!. Here’s a snapshot from a couple years ago of a simple treasure that brought a beautiful insight.


One of my favorite practices to find my center and my inner peace is sitting outdoors, being present with nature. It’s called “sit spot,” as taught to me by Jon Young, author of What the Robin Knows.

I had some time before my next client at my office, so I decided to step outside and enjoy the benches under an olive tree in the complex I sublet in.  In front of me was a lovely little bed of colorful flowers – red zinnias, pink cosmos, some daisies and mums among a couple other plants I couldn’t identify. It was a warm spring day, and the shade of the tree was the perfect balance to the bright sun overhead.

I wanted to happily settle in, but this wasn’t a quiet place. The complex is right on a major 4-lane road, with high-rises across the street and a lot of noisy traffic coming and going. OK, I’ll accept that. Then, another airplane soared over. Hrmpf. Letting go into that, a leaf blower started up on the lawn in the complex next door. This is definitely ruining my peaceful sit spot.

I couldn’t find any sign of birds, my usual companions for these outdoor practices. There are no creatures here, in this noisy, traffic-laden spot, I exclaimed to myself! I was used to listening for birdsong and seeing chickadees high in the trees on my front lawn. I felt dismayed that nothing seemed to be around us – how could it, in this urban area?

I was about to give up my garden relaxation (which wasn’t so relaxing) and head back indoors, when I noticed the bees. Yes, there were certainly insects around here. There is life. A couple flies hovered around, and I saw another bee zip by to the white flowers across the sidewalk from me. The first signs of creatures began to emerge.

I waited a bit longer, opening up my eyes to broader vision. With my peripheral vision, I could take in more of the scene and detect movement, which would give me clues to what might actually live in this less-than-wild environment. What else might I notice, if I am more patient and give this some time?

A shadow darted overhead; as I turned to follow its trail, I saw a grey bird flying across the boulevard to the trees next to the high-rises. My first bird sign – but actually, that wasn’t true. I had seen seagulls and probably pigeons, but discounted those automatically.  Those aren’t really nature, I thought – they’re always around, pooping on the traffic lights and gobbling up crumbs from tossed potato chip bags. But they, indeed, are part of our natural world here in suburbia, and worthy of my noticing. I had not realized that I was discounting some obvious life around me.

Again, I softened my eyes and let them take in a broader scope of my vision, rather than the hard-focused, directive way that we humans look at things (as do other predators). Off to my left, I saw movement on the brick pathway, going around to the grass. It was a bird! A small bird, that likes to hang out on the ground, searching for seeds, perhaps. Suddenly, I was filled with joy and enthusiasm about a bird friend in the vicinity.

I stood up and looked over at the grass, but it was hiding somewhere in the bushes. It must have seen my movement – so I will need to sit back down and be still.  The movement of some magenta flowers clued me in as to its location. Then I saw it hopping through the bushes towards the ivy. A sweet, gentle, dark-eyed junco! Charcoal on its head and neck, coffee-colored through the bodice and wings. It sifted through the compost and snatched up seeds, quietly and cautiously hopping away to disappear in the shiny green leaves of the ground cover.

For me, patience and presence gave me a little treasure. I was delighted and filled with hope that even in this place of mostly concrete and steel, there was life. I may have missed it, had I not been willing to be patient. To wait and see. Waiting with trust of what may show up, and with the eyes to be able to look around and notice what is happening, rather than focusing on what isn’t there.

Often, we become impatient with life, because we aren’t receiving what we want right now. But the Universe has its own timing. Waiting in the space of trust, while being alert and observing what shows up, puts us in alignment with something greater in our lives. Alignment with the Divine – or our Higher Self if you prefer – opens up the possibility for more to flow into our life.

So next time, when you’re not seeing what you expected or hoped for, remember to wait and see. Practice patience, trust, and open your eyes to perceive all that is available now. It will reveal much that you might otherwise miss.

What treasure or insight did you discover from patience and presence? Share it here!


Want to learn more about Presence and the other 6 keys to awakening from your emotions? Check out Awakening from Anxiety: A Spiritual Guide to Living a More Calm, Confident, Courageous Life!


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