Do you ever go through those times in your life when it seems like the same things keep coming up over and over again, directing you?
Could be something small, like a certain book that keeps making its way into your sphere. Could be bigger things, like reminders of causes that mean something to you, things that take you back to parts of your identity that have gotten lost over time, or prompts to return to your center or your faith. No matter how it shows up, you notice.
Well, actually, usually you only notice when you start to notice on purpose. When you open up your awareness and start to really see and hear these repetitive messages.
I subscribe to an email called The Art of Noticing, and it’s so great. (It’s now a book too.) Every single week, Rob Walker sends out tidbits he’s noticed, in order to help us notice more in our own lives. And I subscribe to another email that centers on mindfulness, but often focuses on noticing as a foundational part of practicing mindfulness. Indeed, it’s something that I’ve practiced and gotten good at (in part, thanks to these weekly reminders!), and thus, I’m even more aware when other people aren’t doing a good job of noticing things in their own lives.
I mean, really, it’s part of my job to do the noticing for you. But I can’t tell you how many times I instantly notice something that someone else hasn’t noticed at all. Personally, I love pointing that stuff out because it always has an impact. Noticing makes you think. Noticing makes you see everything just a little differently.
More often than not, noticing makes you see things more clearly.
But still, we refuse to do it. In fact, often, we avoid it vehemently. We fill our time and awareness with all forms of digital whatever, with distractions, with work, hustling, filling schedules to the brim, pushing ourselves to physical and mental burnout, even numbing out. And then, we wonder why we’re not feeling great. We wonder why we feel unfulfilled. We wonder why we haven’t heard from our friends in a while. We wonder why we can’t seem to figure anything out. We wonder why we don’t feel like ourselves.
You ever feel like that? It’s like you don’t even notice your life. So then how do you go from that place to noticing all those things and patterns that continually come up and direct you?
You quit going through your daily life unaware. You make a choice to notice instead of distract. To pay attention. To watch and listen. To put your phone down. You give yourself time and space to notice what’s really going on in your world. Because if you don’t, you certainly can’t expect to see a clear path through it.
And I get that it’s hard to listen. The world is real noisy right now. Also, listening is a skill to be practiced too, and one that takes time and patience – just like noticing itself. But sometimes (most of the time), and even when it’s hard, it’s about listening. Not talking. Not filling the space.
So once you give yourself that time and space, you’ll likely be surprised by what you do notice. If you’ve been feeling off, you might notice behaviors and habits that have crept in that are having a big impact on you but are relatively easy to address. If you’ve been feeling neglected – or been the one doing the neglecting – you may notice the roots of that feeling, or why it’s happening. If you’ve been specifically searching for something, the answer or solution might reveal itself more naturally, or in a totally different way than you suspected it might when you were trying to force it.
And honestly, you might just notice that you’re tired and the things popping up are telling you to take a damn break, or a vacation. You might notice you’ve been defaulting, in status quo mode for a while. You might notice everything around you in brighter color, greater texture, richer depth. Or you might even notice that shit is actually pretty great and you want to soak it in more.
But opening up your awareness to listening, practicing noticing what’s going on in and around you, is likely going to change your perspective in a lot of ways. In reality, of course it’s not going to change everything – you’ve got to do some work too. But it’s certainly a first step. Noticing gives you information, and so often, inspiration. At the least, an inclination of direction. Then, you can start to make choices about what that means to you, what you want to do with all of it, how, and when.
But if you don’t pause first and open up your eyes and your heart and your mind, it’s all just a guess.
The point is – if you listen for it, if you notice on purpose, the signs are often there. What you’ve been praying for is there. The way is already revealing itself. It doesn’t always look how you think it should look, or how you think it would be easiest, but it’s there.
Don’t walk right by it with your headphones on.
If you need my help noticing, let’s talk about it. Schedule a time to chat with me directly below. While you’re increasing your noticing skills, sign up for my weekly emails, which often center around life observations applicable to all of us.