Are You Paying Attention, Part 2?

15803166On the heels of yesterday’s post about paying attention, ON LOOKING : ELEVEN WALKS WITH EXPERT EYES by Alexandra Horowitz, was one of the recommended reads. Horowitz takes the reader through a variety of walks, pointing out nature, history, and other unlikely-to-be-seen things the average walker might miss.

As Horowitz points out, you are missing things right now, while you’re reading this post:

You are missing most of what is happening around you right now. You are missing what is happening in the distance and right in front of you. In reading these words, you are ignoring an unthinkably large amount of information that continues to bombard all of your senses. The hum of the fluorescent lights; the ambient noise in the room; the feeling of the chair against your legs or back; your tongue touching the roof of your mouth; the tension you are holding in your shoulders or jaw; the constant hum of traffic or a distant lawnmower; the blurred view of your own shoulders and torso in your peripheral vision; a chirp of a bug or whine of a kitchen appliance.

Until I read that paragraph, I hadn’t even been thinking about what was going on around me. Sometimes, it is a blessing to be able to block out all of the ambient noise and interruptions, but how long does it take to train ourselves to do that automatically, all the time? I bet we’re missing out on many delightful things.

We don’t own a copy of ON LOOKING at our library, but we’d love to bring it in for you. Let us know if you’d like an interlibrary loan. Start seeing what you’re missing…

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