Lesson #10: Notice the World Around You

Note:  I don’t quite have an update on the boat or apartment for you yet.  It’s coming, since we have 4 days to get out of here!  Work has been slow since the last update, because I pushed myself so hard that I ended up getting sick with a cold or the flu or something.  We’re still plugging away, but we haven’t accomplished enough to justify an interesting update post.  So, in the meantime, I will share another of my 35 Lessons in 35 Years.

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Life is fascinating.  It really is.

Living in the city in a warm climate, I have had less reason to stay inside and more reason to be out and about, exploring.  I really am an avid people-watcher, and amidst this sea of humanity that we call Houston, there is much to watch.

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Coming out of a challenging–yet very necessary, important, and beautiful–time in my life, I carry all that I have learned with me as I observe this world we live in.  I love to watch and to talk to other people and realize that each and every one of them is on a journey similar to my own.  We all see life through the clouded lens of our own perception, and our journey is one of clearing that lens.  And eventually removing it.

We are all on a journey to find and understand love, to belong.  We are all searching to discover who we are.  We are all emerging from the fog of perceived unworthiness.

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We all have a story to tell, and lessons that we’ve learned.

Watching everyone with this knowledge, removes the filter of judgement.  Yes, people do funny things.  We all do very funny things!  We get caught up in dramatic spats that are largely irrelevant.  We valiantly fight shadows and chase ghosts.  But seeing this in ourselves and in everyone else reminds us of our common humanity.

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When I rode my bicycle to work, Rob asked me if I would like to bring a MP3 player.  While I often do enjoy good music, I declined the offer.  The beauty of my ride is to be a part of everything and to experience it all:

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The singing of the birds in the morning

The lights on highway 3

The rising sun that greets me

The ducks swimming along the bike trail

The gentleman taking his morning walk

The crossing guards I see every morning

The smell of breakfast cooking at the local restaurants

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I used to wander through life, completely lost in thought and always seeking distraction.  When I read about the importance of “present moment awareness,” I laughed because this was something I was simply unable to do!  My mind was always busy, always noisy.  I couldn’t just force it to be quiet!

And I was right.  Quietness is not something that can be forced.  It was only through looking deeply into those thoughts, and into my mind’s reason for being noisy and seeking distraction, that I was able to find peace.  Peace was my reward, for my journey into the heart of my fears, my journey toward seeing reality as it is.

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So if you find yourself unable to put that phone away, or always wanting those headphones on, maybe just putting it away isn’t the answer.  Look deeply, and lovingly discover what it is that you are trying to escape.

10 thoughts on “Lesson #10: Notice the World Around You

  1. Lovely post, Bethany! I like to skip the music most of the time as well, so I can really absorb the sounds of the world around me. (And sometimes, I just need to hear my own thoughts in the silence!)

  2. Sounds like you are preparing for a beautiful life adventure! Congratulations! I soak in so much energy from nature. I have found that living in the moment frees me of so much anxiety if I can remember it is okay to plant myself in the flow of life. My coping usually leads me to planning the future, so thanks for the reminder.
    StudioJema

    • Welcome aboard, Jema! Yes, we certainly are on an adventure! After living aboard for 91 days in Michigan, we decided to move to the ocean a year ago. We’ve had a rather uninteresting year in the apartment (well, uninteresting from a blogging perspective!), but now we’ve got *gasp* 3 days to get out of our apartment and onto the boat!

  3. What great reminders to stop and notice the beauty all around us on any given day. And I loved to see your “view” as you made your way to work. If we all took the time to stop and really look at the world around us I think we would be so much happier!

  4. Nice post! Usually I think I have the “hardest life”in the world until I hear someone else’s story and a lot of them are fascinating and interesting to hear.

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