Notice What You Notice

This is Maggie, our delightful, 25 year old who just got married and is preparing to move from D.C. cross-country with her husband to start grad school at Berkeley.  

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One of her mentors, Brooke Toftoy, introduced our church to Holy Yoga which is “experiential worship created to deepen people’s connection to Christ.”  Maggie loves Yoga, so the morning before her wedding she asked Brooke to lead the bridesmaids in this practice.  Although there’s only “regular” yoga in D.C she still loves it. I asked Maggie to guest post today, because although I may be biased, I think she’s amazing!

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One of my favorite yoga instructors invites us into an interesting practice.  Every so often, throughout the class, he will invite us into a resting position and ask us to “return to your breath, be still and notice.  Notice what you notice.”

“Notice what you notice,” he says.  So I lay there and I notice.  First I notice that the “resting pose” that he has instructed us to find is awfully pretzely and I want to have a few words with whoever dubbed it a “resting pose.”  I notice how sweaty I am.  I notice that it’s hot day and that in 24 minutes when class is over, it would be a good time for some froyo (I’ve obviously earned it, what with the sweat and the pretzel-y-ness.)

When I’m done mentally complaining, I start the practice of really noticing.  I notice that I feel pretty calm.  I notice that I’m really improving in that one difficult pose, and that makes me feel strong and accomplished.  I notice that this is the one quiet spot in my day and I soak it in.

Outside of yoga class, in regular old life,  I sometimes like to remind myself to notice what I notice.  I like being observant and tuning in.

IMG_4382I notice that there are some beautiful purple flowers blooming on my walk to the metro each morning, and I notice that each evening they have disappeared.  This intrigues me, so I continue.

But I don’t always like what I notice.  I notice the same six homeless people on my commute every day.  I notice how often I avoid eye contact with them or lie and say I don’t have any cash on me.

I notice which coworker is leaving their dirty dishes in the sink and I keep a mental tally of how often I’m the first one into the office or the last one to leave.

This noticing game is becoming less fun.  I decide there should probably be another component to it, or I’ll end up so depressed and self-deprecating that no amount of pretzel poses or prayers muttered under my breath will help.

So maybe tomorrow I’ll finally remember to pick the purple flowers and give them away to brighten someone’s day.  Maybe I’ll buy a few extra copies of Street Sense (a national newspaper written by the homeless – their slogan is “help the homeless help themselves.”) even if I already have that issue sitting on my coffee table at home.

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At the very least I can load my coworker’s dishes into the dishwasher without cursing them under my breath.

So I challenge you to notice.  Then notice what you notice.  Then try to do something about it.

Namaste 🙂

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Maggie for your words and your invitation for me to ‘Notice what I Notice’; I feel it odd sometimes when I am in “resting pose”, just taking a break during the day to recoup, that I feel guilty and unproductive. Sometimes I feel like if I take time out, I’m being unproductive. That if I have time to “notice what I notice” I must not be doing enough. I’m working on that… but until I master “being still”, I’ll take your advice and I’ll even write down what exactly I noticed 😉

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