Notice what you don’t

This year I’ve recognised the importance of taking time to really pay attention, especially to people.

Did you spot it? I didn’t finish the title. What might you have missed spotting today?

This year I’ve regularly walked into proverbial posts in my Covid perambulations. For someone that considers themselves observant, I’m often not. It’s crazy the numbers of times I’ve picked out something that I thought was new and on closer inspection wasn’t.

It illustrated to me that we often only build up a general impression of our world. We might think we know the detail, but we’re really filling in bits both inferred and real. Anything inferred, as a result of prior knowledge, experience, or from a general feeling.

I measured up a building recently, completely failed to see a concrete column in a brick wall until it was mentioned later. I had to go back to check my photos. It wasn’t what I was looking for or needed to see. It had no relevance to me, despite its importance.

What are we missing with the people we interact with? What are we inferring, filling in the detail? We might think we know them, but what are we completely failing to see?

I’m reminded to be more mindful in the world and of the people we’re with. Being still, in body and mind. Paying attention to what and who is in front of us, in the moment. To listen, that’s really listen with full attention. To be curious, ask questions of people. Ask questions of what is in front of us. To take the time to see what might be important.

It’s incredible what you notice when you do. It might also be important to the people we care about.

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