How often do we look at things without actually seeing them?
Too often in life, we wind up on autopilot, going through the motions without stopping to notice the convenience and beauty around us. Everyone can think of scenarios in their own lives where this is true. For some, it might happen while folding a pile of laundry or getting dressed in the morning. Most of us don’t stop to appreciate the scent of laundry detergent, the convenience of a washing machine, or the variety of colors and textures in the clothing we own.
Others may see a pile of cut olive branches or flowering vines next to a garbage bin and walk on by. If it’s not for sale at Pottery Barn (or the flower shop), our brains tell us that it’s not worth picking up and putting in a vase.
Even those who usually notice things probably don’t pay attention all the time. What sound does the ground make as we walk upon it? What scent and feeling does air have as it fills our lungs?
Noticing these little things can lengthen our perception of time and infuse our lives with deep enjoyment and gratitude. And sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of “repackaging” to see familiar circumstances in an entirely new way.
I’m reminded of our first several years living in Israel. As far as I knew, Israel wasn’t a land of rich beauty. It had its natural wonders of course: desert oases like Ein Gedi, waterfalls in Northern Israel like the Banias. But the bulk of the Land? Well, it just wasn’t that beautiful. No big deal.
Years later, my perception has completely changed. Little did I know back then that in my very own backyard lay a world of natural beauty that would make my heart fly. There were mossy forests, green hills, and flower fields within a 20-minute drive. But I had no knowledge that these places existed.
Once I got past the confines of the cities, the highways, and the well-known parks, I discovered that Israel was a place of lush wild beauty. When I began to realize that rainy season was not a time to hunker down indoors and wait for spring, my eyes opened up to all of the incredible gifts I had been missing – flowers, greenery, cool breezes, and nature – right nearby.
All I needed was to reframe my perception: Israel was a place of outdoor beauty. Once my eyes opened up to this fact, I began to appreciate the blessings all around me and seek them out even more.
So go ahead, stop and notice the wonderful gifts hiding in the mundane details of your life. Whether you experience a giant revelation (like my discovery of Israel’s great outdoors) or a just a simple breath of fresh air, paying attention will change your life experience for the better.