Noticing requires balance. The question is what is important to notice and what is important to avoid noticing. What I notice depends on where I am at a given moment in my day's activities and my surroundings. Although the list of things I notice changes depending on where I am, six things remain constant.
I notice the moods of others and my own in reaction to their moods. I notice how easily moods shift. Noticing moods is important for me because moods give clues about what to do or what not to do. What however is most important is noticing my mood in that how I react to an idea, a person, or a situation tells me what works and doesn't work for me.
I notice my surroundings, which include the shapes of buildings and the trunks of trees. I notice where fire escapes are and where potential dangers are. I'm on alert for both the beauty of trees and flowers and the dangers of traffic and possible threats from others.
Being aware of possible threats from others is a city skill. When I lived in the countryside, I thought of snakes and mountain lions as possible threats when I walked in the woods. Now that I live in the city, I think of people and cars as possible threats.
Arrangements are how things are ordered. I notice how people cue at the bank and the post office. I notice how systems function. When I lived in East Africa, I noticed how people didn't cue at the post office. They just crowded together at the counter to buy stamps. I noticed how the loudest voice seemed to get service from the postal clerk.
4. The world
I notice the events of the day by reading a daily paper online. My goal is to be aware of the wider world to keep in mind that my city is not necessarily the center of the world although much of the time I feel that where I am is what matters most.
The air we breathe sustains us. I notice the air around me and I notice how I breath. Deep breathing equates with a relaxed body. If you're not already practicing deep breathing that may mean that your shoulders are tense and that you are tense.
I notice the words that people use, and I notice how words have the power to bridge or to alienate. Words sell and words compromise.
You may have your own list of six items that you notice. Your list may be conscious or it may not be conscious. An activity that will help you to better understand yourself and the world around you would be to list the six things you generally notice. Another activity that may help you to better understand the world around you is making a list of those things that you want to notice.
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Article Added on Friday, June 19, 2009
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