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On Noticing

Have you ever walked down a street you drive on regularly and see something you never noticed before?  There was a road I drove down at least every other day.  I often ran down it as well.  One morning, I was having a not-so-great run, and I decided to walk instead.  As I was making my way up the large hill, I saw a huge white object sticking up behind a house I had often admired.

It was a massive home with an arched passage over the driveway.  Almost castle-like in its appearance you couldn’t miss it.  I’d stared at that home so many times, in awe of the brickwork and intricate stained glass designs on the small windows that framed the front door.  I had never noticed, however, that behind the home was a large white water tank.  It was big enough to rise above the roof and peak out into the open space of the driveway.  My view of the house suddenly changed.  Here was this beautiful, elegant home against the backdrop of a city water tank and subsequent barbed wire fencing around it.  How had I never noticed this before?

All too often our experience in life is automatic.  We go from one thing to the next without really thinking about it.  We are out of bed at 6 a.m. and by 8 p.m. can’t tell you what we accomplished.  We don’t take the time to pause and notice and think through our time, activities, and the choices we have within those.  Like the house, we might pass by something dozens of times before we take the time to slow down and actually notice what’s going on.

Our emotions and responses are similar.  We tend to have an emotion and subsequent response quickly, without thinking much about it.  It isn’t until that response is unacceptable to those around us or we see that it is contributing to a negative pattern in our lives that we might try to change it.

Noticing is the first step to changing our negative responses to emotions or unhealthy thought patterns we have.  You can’t change anything unless you see it for what it is.  Noticing is where that begins.  Start with a minute, just one minute, to notice your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.  That one simple act is the beginning to change you might seek.  You simply have to pause, slow down, and begin to notice.

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