Take a Moment to Glance Up

As I leaned back in the armchair in my living room, I casually glanced up and out my window.

I noticed three lights piercing the night’s cloak of darkness.

Like three stars in the sky. Each glowing softly, quietly, resolutely.

It turns out they were just street and building lights that had always been there. It’s just that I had never noticed them until that moment. And only because I glanced up.

How many other things in life have always been there, yet like the street and building lights, have gone unnoticed?

Taken for granted without nary a thought. Head buried deep in work or social media. Just street and building lights that in another time would’ve been hailed as marvels of invention. The point is they haven’t “always been there”. Rather, they faded from earth shattering invention to everyday commodity over time.

I could be missing out on a whole world of things. Things that are, regardless of whether or not they are noticed.

Things that exist right under our noses. Hidden by the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Things that we’ve forgotten to appreciate and be grateful for.

I oughta glance up more often.

What can we do to glance up more?

Here are 3 spur-of-the-moment life hacks I can think of to enable us to glance up more often.

  1. Simplify Our Lives: Thanks to the locked-down, social distanced lives we now lead under the grip of COVID-19, the distracting hustle and bustle of commuter traffic has been replaced by the eerie quiet of isolation in our home offices and living rooms. Giving us time and space to take notice and be mindful of our surroundings, who we are and even the meaning of life. My wife summed it up well: “Being cooped up together for months, I think we’re all learning about ourselves.
  2. Take a Break: With no separation between work and home, we can lose track of time, place and balance. Everything blends and blurs together. My daughter suggests a practice called 20-20-20 Breaks. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Especially beneficial during marathon virtual online events. Personally, I like to either take a walk or ride my bike in nature.
  3. Interact with the World: One fortuitous outcome from the pandemic has been the opportunity to engage, connect and collaborate with anyone in the world through platforms like Zoom and Miro. The relative homogeneity of local, in-person meetups and other community events has been augmented if not replaced by the diversity of remote, virtual events that anyone can participate in and contribute to from anywhere in the world. I’ve learned and re-learned something new every time. Even the most mundane topics take on new life when shared through a multicultural lens. Like what inclusion means for virtual facilitation activities. Like what connection means online.

Tonight. Right now. As I type this sentence, here’s what I’m noticing:

  • The ticktock of the clock
  • The howling wind outside
  • The laughter of the kids in the basement
  • The straggly tentacles of the elephant foot plant
  • The weave of the carpet underfoot

And,

  • Three lights in the darkness

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