Contemplating the Designs of the Artist

Jun 7 / Mary Hally
The endless masterpieces evolve in ways for my living senses to recognize an unseen, inviting Artist. I have become more faithful in my relationship with the hidden Designer who works and communicates in ways to help me heal. The Designer has broadened my perception of a nurturing, and playful world. Rather than limit my search for the welcoming Spirit to within just humanity, I have learned that some of the most hospitable moments are alone with the inhabitants of the expanded world.

As I enter into the realm of the natural world, my eyes typically gather information by skimming the surroundings. Often, the senses of smelling, hearing, and feeling follow. Then when invited, my gathered noticings recognize a moment to taste something that entices an intrigued appetite. My senses innately connect with a world alive and awake. The endless possibilities invite me to play a game of “hide and seek” with the Artist of things to discover - to teach and recover my curious, misled heart.

Healing is experienced in the discoveries of the Artist’s unique attributes. For years I have taken for granted the unique sounds and images I encounter that express these characteristics. The ways I chose to receive and expand communication filled my senses with distracting, divisive language and destructive priorities which shifted me to grasp for nurturing consolation. I learned that this gentle move to prioritize my time outdoors shifted me into a place to be nurtured through an environment of abundant life.

Each moment outdoors invites a new discovery or awakening to the yearnings of my heart. Some days I notice new blooms or flirty, dainty weeds. Other days the sounds of creatures have me laughing aloud. One day there was a symphony of woodpeckers near and far that connected me to the sound of a snoring humans. I have even witnessed a turkey take a leap over a wooden fence as though he was guilty of a pesky act!

While there are many days filled with humor and playfulness, there are also other days when my heart becomes triggered with surrender to grief. Noticing a deceased animal’s body bonds me to the empathetic part of me connected to family. Oftentimes when I notice a lifeless creature, I wonder what it was like at the moment it was taking its last breaths. Was it in pain, all alone? Is its family searching for this loved one? These moments of discomfort shift me into imaginative prayer for the creature and its family. I sense their own connections, knowing that this loved one was reunited with our Original Source of life.

The gift of owning several dogs has fed into this connection I have with other creatures. Cuddling with and caring for my own furry familial additions have invited me to see the Christ within other living beings. For example, I notice how my dogs greet me endlessly with affection, sit at my feet, playfully invite me into celebrating joy, and always accompany me during my mealtimes. Animals have taught me a lot about unconditional love - I am always welcomed.

Nature contemplation has opened my imagination and tenderness to the unique designs of vegetation. These connections make me feel more nurtured through the plant life outdoors, as well as within my home. I have experienced an intuitive bond and gratitude as I have taken the time to connect with the textures, colors, patterns, and playfulness within individual designs. They welcome me to recognize the work of the Artist that incorporates attributes of self-control and patience as a life force that assembles direction and pace for which things unfold and bloom.

I find it very fascinating how I can visit a specific space outside, and it will never be the same again. As though it surrenders to the Artist’s invitations to guide the student and other contributors within the commune of greater purpose beyond what the senses can comprehend, never to replicate an original design.

Nature also teaches me how instinct is a constant. A new mother bird knows the necessity of a soft, protective, intertwined nest to house her vulnerable eggs. I witness my dogs’ ability to express gratitude throughout the day. The grass knows to return each season slowly sprouting evidence of new life, while expressing green colors and diversity in textures. The roots of trees and vegetation communicate messages of the different seasons. Who or what is the first to begin this messaging for renewal or hibernation?

The interconnectedness of Earth’s creations are always active. The Artist continues to speak through and express within each moment in different designs and creations. St. John of the Cross’s, “A Rabbit Noticed My Condition”, so tenderly shares how Earth’s participants are designed to companion along our cycles of contemplation:

I was sad one day and went for a walk; I sat in a field.

A rabbit noticed my condition and came near.

It often does not take more than that to help at times –

To just be close to creatures who are so full of knowing, so full of love, that they don’t – chat, they just gaze with their marvelous understanding.

I wonder, how are you experiencing the Artist’s works through your own life’s patterns and cycles?

Where might you find the infinite invitations awaiting your curiosity in the outdoor world?

Mary Hally

Mary Hally is a Spiritual Director who enjoys accompanying individuals of all ages to build an inner confidence of connecting and discovering invitations from God within their days. Her own experiences of encountering the Holy in our midst inform Mary’s gift for helping others to recognize the possibility of divine presence both in beauty and in life’s challenges. To contact Mary, please email her at