My house is small.  A tiny guest room doubles as office and meditation space.  My wee altar is tucked under the desk.  A zafu and zabuton rest in the bottom of a bookshelf.

I wake up, roll out the zabuton and position the altar against the door because that’s where it fits. I light a candle. I sit and breathe. I repeat this ritual every other day.

Last week I did a visualization to help guide me into the rough day ahead. I asked spirit how to escape my funk and meet the world with a smile.

When I opened my eyes I saw – for the first time – this doorknob and keyhole.

Now, how metaphorical is that? A keyhole! A door! Right in front of my face.  Right over my altar. For years, I’d been too busy ohmming and ishing to see it.

My friend Laurie once told me a story about noticing. She’d been walking in a world of pain. Troubles pressing her on all sides. And one day she laid on her back in the grass and looked up.  “I saw how big and open and steady the sky was.”

She saw the clouds as her thoughts, “practically made of nothing and as we watch them we can see that not only are they moving, but they are only small specks in the scheme of things…”

I remember Laurie’s sky story sometimes when I’m stuck.  Or I make a point of noticing what is near me. Or I notice what’s inside.  Though sometimes I’m too bogged in my own quagmire to find the way.

But I know the way is there, given some patience, faith and awareness.

Open my eyes.  Open the door.

I lead writing workshops in San Francisco, and spend much of my “free” time writing. (I also sell residential real estate in San Francisco; visit or for more about that.) This post originally appeared on my old Fingerpuzzled blog.