Have you ever noticed your spouse’s new hairdo on Thursday only to be told that it’s been that way since Monday?
Have you ever noticed a new business on your way to work only to learn that it’s been there for weeks?
So often in the busy-ness of our daily routines we miss obvious changes. As we do what we always do, we tend to focus on things we always see and, as a result, think the way we always think. Even if you’re the most interesting person in the universe, your world will grow stale and dull if you lose sight of what’s right in front of you.
There’s a whole lot of change to notice and appreciate every day: New leaves on a tree. A new chill in the air. New neighbors. New solutions to problems. New energy in your office. New passion with your friends. New growth in your teenager. New perspectives on things that didn’t even change.
I’m reminded of this quote by psychiatrist, R.D. Laing:
“The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds”
Read that again. We get so used to seeing something we don’t even see it anymore. I guess my deep thought for the day concerns the importance of ‘observation’. Paying attention. And the only way I know to do this is to slow down.
Throughout our lives we are taught to value speed and getting things done quickly. We learn that doing is more valuable than merely being, and that making the most of life is a matter of forging ahead at a hurried pace. Yet as we push forward searching for some elusive sense of fulfillment, we find ourselves feeling increasingly disconnected and harried. More importantly, we fail to notice the simple beauty of living. When we learn to slow down, we rediscover the significance of seemingly inconsequential aspects of life. Mealtimes become celebrations of family time. A job well-done becomes a source of great pleasure, no matter what the nature of our work might be. In essence, we give ourselves the gift of time-time to indulge our curiosity, to enjoy the moment, to appreciate everyday wonders, to sit and think, to connect with others, and to explore our inner lives more fully.
So I encourage you to slow down in your own way. Open your eyes just a little wider…you may notice a new layer of beauty in a routine that stays the same. There’s no telling how many miracles are unfolding under our noses that we’re just too busy, too self-absorbed, too unaware to notice. The world is made what it is each day in part by countless tiny, almost unnoticeable things. When we practice greeting the day with new eyes, we begin to tune into new, wonderful things happening all around us.
Most of you know that one of my hobbies is photography. When I have my camera, I’m always looking for the next shot. It helps me notice the little things that I might not have noticed if I weren’t looking. My camera is a reminder of the fact that there is more to see, if I’ll stop to see it.
Today, when you’re at your desk or the kitchen table or sitting at a traffic light, look around. Then close your eyes for a few moments. Then open them and notice what you didn’t see before. Who knows?….there just might be a tiny miracle unfolding under your nose.
You are loved,