We’re moving through the levels of noticing.
We’re noticing things all the time.
When we notice what we are noticing then we’re turning our attention towards some person, idea, thing.
When we do this, there’s the possibility of noticing just how we feel about this and a connection can be formed which may be short-term of longer-term.
When this kind of noticing happens then we open ourselves to the possibility of doing something – a noticing through activity.
The problem is, these levels of noticing demand so much of us. Like muscles stretching, tearing and repairing they require great intention and discipline, but after all the effort, we find we have grown.
It’s certainly easier to limit our noticing of all there is to notice, reducing the possibility of having to notice what we are noticing we are noticing. Of such a person, Theodore Roosevelt declared:
“The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twister pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt.”*
When we open both our mind and heart towards the other, we open fields of growth possibilities for ourselves and for others, so Keri Smith writes about the Wander Society:
‘I believe its members exist to aid us in our quest to discover our own deepest should life, to help us move to a higher plane of consciousness.’**
When describing communities of gifts, Lewis Hyde writes:
‘As in the case with any circulation of gifts, the commerce of art draws each of its participants into a wider self. The creative spirit moves in a body or ego larger than that of any single person.’^
John O’Donohue adds in his usual helpful way:
‘It seems that in a soul sense, we cannot be fully ourselves without others. In order to be, we need to be with.‘^^
It’s as if we’re creating a map of possibility that is able to teach, enchant and guide us.*^
Noticing in deeper ways is akin to laying down more detail on the map.
(I want to write here about how maps combine images, shapes and words, but I’ll resist the temptation and leave this for another day).
The more complex the journey we want to take, the more details we need on the map. Maps are about getting somewhere but they are also about how we choose to get there, what we want to experience on the way.
Most of us would not want to think of ourselves as a cynic or of being cynical, but oftentimes cynics don’t have a sneer on their faces but an unwillingness to notice, to connect, to cross borders in order to enter new lands.
(*Theodore Roosevelt, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Theodore Roosevelt on the Cowardice of Cynicism and the Courage to Create rather Than to Criticise.)
(**From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(^From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)
(^^From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(*^These three dimensions are borrowed from Otto Scharmer’s characteristics of a living field of possibility: Theory U.)