Careful Observation

Careful observation takes practice. We are so often swept up in our own flurry of activity that we don’t even notice:


A tree alive with monarch butterflies

A woman framed in a window, reading

The first drops of rain on the roof before the storm.


On retreat we relinquish our phones (the first time I did this I was horrified… what? What if? The second time I felt a wash of relief.) No phone means no weather app. Which means looking at the sky to see what might be ahead. Smelling the air for snow. Because there is a smell for coming snow. And the sky goes green before a tornado. But that’s another story, another place and time.

Point is, we all have the capacity to notice the smallest things. And when we do the world comes alive, reveals itself to you.

Try this:

Take a stroll without any end in mind but the noting of details. Use all your senses if you can. Touch a surface. Smell what’s in the air. Let your eyes rest on the tiny and the vast. Give yourself over to the sounds around you.  Tasting might be a little much on your walk. Depends.

By the way, this experience might not be all pleasant. Don’t block anything out. Just note it. Awareness isn’t always calming. Your sense experience might include the whiff of garbage. No matter. The point is to wake up to what is around you. To stop and take a breath.

You might not smell roses but you will be more fully available for whatever comes your way.