I was visiting my mom and NLP explorer Glenda Raver in rural Illinois where she lives. The sun had started to set over the deep green fields behind her house. These fields stretch for miles and miles, and the sky turned from fuchsia to pale pink to light blue to deep navy. We set up chairs at the edge of the field, expectantly watching the light change in the night sky.
And then, the fireflies came out over the fields. They flashed neon green, one by one, moving through the air above the fields. They filled the acreage in front of our eyes and we could even see flashes quite far away. Most firefly species use the flashes as a way to attract other fireflies. This organic, naturally-arising pattern of movement, brightness, and attraction has been studied by computer mathematicians and has even been applied to generate solutions to complex engineering problems.
Watching sunsets and fireflies also generates a type of altered state for many people, which is associated with peripheral attention instead of fovial attention. “Taking in the big picture” (periphaeral attention) creates different physiological states in one’s body than “looking at the detail” does (fovial attention). The breath drops and slows. We use our eyes in a more relaxed way. Heart rate usually relaxes a bit. This peripheral or “broadened” state makes our inner resources, mindfulness, relaxation, and the like, easier to access.
Sharing this experience with my mother brought me so much simple presence! Thank you for letting me share this moment with you.
What moments in your life are you attending to? What recent moment of enjoyment would you like to share with others and therefore revivify? Feel free to share your moment here. Or take time to find a friend or colleague or family memory to help you “re-live” and re-enjoy that moment now.
More firefly resources: