Have you noticed anything different lately?

Noticing

Under Lockdown much of our life has been brought into sharp focus. For many of us it began with noticing what we’ve lost, such as key aspects of how we identify ourselves might have been lost: one’s job, position, income, status, home even.

Alongside such dramatic changes, many of us shared a new noticing. There seems to have been a collective appreciation of the small things, perhaps a particular brand of tea we craved, how our radishes grow, 6 Music, the freedom and feeling of directing one’s own time, of slowing down.

Let’s face it, in ‘Western’ culture, ‘modern’ life, most of us have been to some degree in a state of hyper-arousal most of the time. Cortisol junkies, rushing about, swiping left and right, taking flights, trains, buses, cars to get from A to B as fast as possible, cramming in as much as possible, courses, learning, screen time, exercise, social time, trying to earn and do as much as possible.

Many of us often not feeling good enough, like we weren’t doing enough, achieving enough. Generally, half-listening, partially present, ever so slightly distracted much of the time, in our heads, out of our bodies and surrounded in busy-ness and to do lists. And possibly an underlying sense of dis-satisfaction, an out of kilter-ness which many of us ignored or numbed with more busy-ness and/or food, booze, drugs, screen time, online games, Facebook . . . You may recognise this behaviour. You may have resembled it.

Well, that was the Old Life.

Then suddenly we were catapulted into ‘New Life’. No one consulted us. Everything changed. The proverbial rug was pulled out from under us. Time itself morphed. Everything took on a new malleability. We no longer had to be places, nay, we were forbidden to go places. All of us. Globally! Gosh, mind melting weirdness. Newness, change. Thrust into everyone’s stratosphere.

And what mattered? Argh! My people, friends, my family where are you? I miss you. One’s hobbies, civil liberties . . . argh, we collectively wailed, we miss you!

Plus, we all had to STOP!

And then we noticed.

Perhaps the wind in the trees, the clouds travelling across the sky, the lack of air trails. Your greying roots, the amount of stuff in your home? The amount of time you and your children spend on screens, or perhaps the joy you got from being together, making a loaf of bread, listening to a certain tune, dancing around your kitchen. Reading, drawing. The amount you love whoever you love.
The list could go on and on.

What our lists probably share is an appreciation of time, creativity, of the other, of Nature. I wonder that it has helped us to notice what is important in our shared experience of this act of being alive.
We’ve all noticed things about ourselves, patterns of behaviour, things we wish to let go of, which no longer serve us, and things we wish to take with us on the next stage of our journey into this new phased of eased Lockdown . . . .whatever that is.

What have you noticed I wonder and what will you take with you into the easing phase?

What are your new ‘importants’?

I am clear about some things – the acquisition of stuff – not important. Friendship, connection, hugs, touch, being with others – important. Nature – important. Time – super valuable and amazing if you can decide (largely) how you spend it. What a gift to be the director of your own show, the captain of your ship. How I feel in heart, mind, body – wellness – definitely important. Racing about, being super busy . . . ? I pledge to manage that better, with greater noticing.

I’ve enjoyed cloud gazing and watching mini-worlds in Nature such as the clever armies of ants constructing ‘roads’ in the flower beds, grasses blowing in the wind, birdsong, lack of traffic.

This time we’ve been gifted by the virus, we’ve all lived it in a range of ways, I’m not ignoring the terrible difficulties, losses and anxiety of so many. My intention here is to reflect on the positives, the learning.

Noticing.

Awareness of self, time and the world around and within oneself so that we may appreciate and take greater care of what matters to us.