The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
Henry David Thoreau
If you have been reading the Daily for some time you have heard me lament the fact that I, like many others, miss a lot of what is around me. Often I catch myself not seeing something only because it has always been there and yet when I do stop to look I find some things change with age and far too often I learn that I never really looked in the first place. We are all told that our ability to stay focused is a great attribute that will improve performance, but I believe that if we stay too focused to see and appreciate what is around us we will lose in the long run.
Yesterday morning I had breakfast with a friend who commented on how I am almost always very early. It does appear to be compulsive behavior but I have learned that planning a leisurely drive or a half an hour of personal time for relaxed reading in advance of a commitment is great for the soul and is fuel for later accomplishment. It seems to me that we live part-time in an almost parallel world filled with electronically generated images and untold hundreds of messages and facts that can put so much demands on us that we miss the beauty of the real world.
What got me thinking about this today was an article in PositivelyPresent a blog written by a gal who focuses in on maintaining a positive outlook, here is some of what she had to say.
Seeing the small: how to look for the little things
Over the weekend I checked out an art exhibit featuring miniature art. All of the paintings and sculptures were miniature — no bigger than my hand — and they were beautiful. As a walked through the exhibit, surprised by the details and inspired by those who painted them, I began to think about the little things in life that often go unnoticed. Should one of those beautiful paintings be placed in a typical art gallery, it might go unnoticed, dwarfed by the scale of the typical paintings hanging beside it. Likewise, surrounded by all of the big things in life, the tiny things around us often go unnoticed.
But after seeing that exhibit this weekend, I realize that I’m still missing out on some of the best things in life: the little things. How often do I look down to see what’s on the ground? How often do I look closely at something I love — a book, a painting, a person — and really see the little things in it? Not often enough, I’d say.
Life is short and I don’t want to miss out on any of it. So I’m going to commit to looking at the little things in life — both through the lens of my camera and through my unfiltered eyes. I’m going to commit to looking for the tiny changes, the small details, the little ways the world is shaped by almost imperceptible elements. But I know it’s going to take some practice. Being present is tough enough and looking for the little details will kick the difficulty level up a notch. Here are some of the ways I’m going to learn to look for the little things:
Ways to Look for the Little Things
Study the lines on the face of someone you love.
Watch the sidewalk when you walk.
Examine the brush strokes on a painting.
Pause your favorite scene in a movie and look closer.
Seek out one little thing you love about your home.
Look at the various colors in a clouded sky (it’s not just gray!).
Check out the people on the sidelines during a big game.
Look up and see what’s above you right now.
Print out a quote you love and memorize the words.
Those are just a few suggestions to get me started. Just like being present in a general sense, being present to the little things in life is a great way to live a more positive life. Focusing on what’s all around you — what’s happening in this moment — allows us to live our lives more fully without worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.
It is the familiar that usually eludes us in life. What is before our nose is what we see last.
A husband read an article to his wife about how many words women use a day… 30,000 to a man’s 15,000. The wife replied, “The reason has to be because we have to repeat everything to men… The husband then turned to his wife and asked, “What?”
Hold fast to time! Use it! Be conscious of each day, each hour! They slip away unnoticed all too easily and swiftly.
My buddy applied for a job as an insurance salesman. Where the form requested “prior experience,” he wrote “lifeguard.” That was it. Nothing else.
“We’re looking for someone who can not only sell insurance, but who can sell himself as well,” said the hiring manager. “How does working as a lifeguard pertain to salesmanship?”
My pal replied, “I couldn’t swim.” He got the job.
Show me a man with both feet firmly on the ground, and I’ll show you a man who can’t get his pants off.
The new pastor decided to visit the children’s Sunday school class. The teacher introduced him to the children and said, “Pastor Jones, this morning we’re studying Joshua.”
“That’s wonderful,” said the new pastor, “let’s see what you’re learning. How about we start with this…who can give me an answer to this…. who tore down the walls of Jericho?”
Little Billy shyly raised hand and offered, “Pastor, I didn’t do it.”
Taken aback, the pastor asked, “Come on, now, *WHO* tore down those walls of Jericho?”
The teacher, interrupting, said, “Pastor, Billy’s a good boy. If he says he didn’t do it, I believe he didn’t do it.” Flustered, the pastor left the room and went directly to the Sunday school director and related the story to him.
The director, looking worried, explained, “Well, sir, we’ve had some problems with Billy before. Let me talk to him and see what we can do.” Huh? Really bothered now by the answers of the teacher and the director, the new pastor approached the deacons and related the whole story, including the responses of the teacher and the director.
A white-haired gentleman thoughtfully stroked his chin and said, “Well, Pastor, I move we just take the money from the general fund to pay for the walls and leave it at that.”
Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.
A woman was telling her friend, “You know, Jane, it was me who made my husband what he is today–a millionaire.”
“Is that right? Well, what was he before you married him?” asked the Jane.
The woman replied, “A billionaire!”
Many people have never learned to see the beauty of flowers, especially those that grow unnoticed. For instance, when you walk outside and look down at your feet, you may see tiny flowers nestled in the moss and clover hiding under a curled fern. Most people just step on them. I paint them.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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