Pay attention Be astonished

Last month I got my first ever tattoo.

It took me 10 years to find the right quote.  Something I wanted to express.

It came in the shape of Mary Oliver’s poem, ‘Sometimes’.  The fourth verse reads: “Instructions for living a life.  Pay attention.  Be astonished.  Tell about it.

I used the middle two lines.

Firstly, they remind me of magical moments with many counselling clients (including HSPs).  Moments when something became clear and led to an astonishing change in the person and their connection to themselves.

The cause of the magic was always traceable back to a tiny detail.  I always pay attention to details but I learned to pay even more.  And even more astonishment followed.

Secondly, the words remind me of being introduced by a client to the wonder of patterns in nature.  She explained the patterns came from a mathematical formula, ‘the golden ratio’.  I ended up asking for a maths book for my birthday – not something I ever thought I’d say!

Thirdly, the words remind me of the power of focusing.  Of turning inwards and listening to what’s going on inside us.  We can discover astonishing things which, at a minimum, bring relief and, at best, new insights and ways forward.

Finally, the words just remind me to notice (something we HSPs are already pretty good at).  And to appreciate even more nuances, details, layers and patterns in their own right and for their own beauty.

Thank you Mary for your “instructions for living a life”.  To me, they’re not so much instructions as gifts that help me tap into who I am and what I want to say in the world.

So, what inspires you, my fellow HSP?  What tattoo would you get?  What quote or image would you use?  Even if it’s only in your imagination …