First things first—be aware. We value awareness in this country. In our job descriptions and résumés we often state that “attention to detail” is a key attribute with are looking for or posses respectively. I tend to be very observant, especially in regards to my environment and the people around me. However, my awareness is probably of the basic sort. What I mean by this is that I notice what is present. I notice what is not present. I pick up on the messages being delivered through body language and tone of voice. However, where I often fall short is awareness of myself. I am not always in tune with my own state of being. That’s a problem and and is something I am actively working on.

I think the boy in this story is facing a similar issue. He has a very superficial awareness of his surroundings, perceiving the large number of locusts. However, he is so caught up in the hunt that he doesn't not realize what legitimate threat is imminent. He owes a great deal of gratitude to the scorpion who spares him not only a great deal of physical pain and a potential fear of locusts in the future, but it also raises the boy's awareness of his surroundings immediately. To me, the scorpion represents those events that force one to stop and become aware. These events often manifest themselves a near-death experiences, deaths of loved ones, the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, escapes to nature, or some other experience that is either traumatic or causes some high level of cognitive dissonance.

I was just participating in a conversation a few days ago about how paying attention to nature allows us to be receptive to learning some of life’s greatest lessons. Have you had any of these experiences lately? If so what was it and how have you become aware as a result?

Handwritten by Michael B. Maine