I'm Putting You On Notice
What if the difference between a miserable day (or life) and a pleasant day (or life) is simply what you noticed?
What if your happiness depended upon you noticing the bird song amidst the traffic noise or the scent of your body wash?
What if ...
We visited the Grand Canyon this past week on a family vacation. And it was COLD. And there were a lot of people complaining about the cold. Come to think of it, there were a lot of people complaining about a lot of things.
The wait to get into the restaurant. The cost of the souvenirs. The behavior of other people who were being too slow, too noisy, or too risky (too close to the edge - don't they know better?!).
Every once in awhile, I would hear someone exclaim with a sigh, "isn't it beautiful?" and I, too, would pause.
I would see what she was seeing, and I would smile and silently thank this stranger for the reminder.
We were both standing in the bone-chilling winds with everyone else. We both heard the parent yelling and saw the 20-something kid edging closer to the cliff to get a better photo.
But what we noticed was a bit different, and because of that, our experience of that moment - and the next - was different.
The trick? It's hard to notice what you don't notice you aren't noticing.
But if those "what if's" are true - if what you notice really is the key to your happiness - isn't it worth a bit of effort (no matter how tricky)?
Start with slowing down. It's hard to notice something different when you are plunging headfirst and at lightning speed through life.
You don't have to apply the brakes (quit your job, send your kids to boarding school, move to a remote mountain location). Just take your foot off of the accelerator every once in awhile.
Notice what is already in front of you. Taste the food as it slips from your spoon onto your tongue.
Notice what is already within you. Clear the traffic jam of thoughts with a bit of meditation or focused attention.
Notice your body. Drop your shoulders, relax your jaw, uncross your legs.
And then notice how you feel.
Experiment with this. Consider it a very strong invitation. I want you to be happy - or, at the very least, to not be miserable. Any practice that might help with that is one I insist you try.
I'm putting you on notice: It's time, right now.