2/19/2016: Attention

This morning @jasondoesstuff and I started off our day with a morning hike around the lake by our house. We were about a third of the way through the hike, not exerting ourselves too much but just enough to break a sweat and breathe a little heavily. On one particularly rigorous incline, I noticed myself holding on to the straps of my pack, staring at my shoes as I labored each step up to the top. I remember putting all of my focus into the climb to the top, sliding into an almost auto-pilot mode that had become familiar to me over the course of our previous hikes.

And then, about halfway up the hill, I lifted my gaze from my shoes, looked to my right and suddenly realized I surrounded by a gorgeous canyon and sprawling hilltops that seemed to go on for miles. Right there in the middle of the incline, I just stopped. I wanted to stare at the beauty, really taking it in.

Jason, noticing I had stopped moving, circled back to meet me and said, “Whatcha doin?” To which I replied, “This hike has become so habitual that I just forgot to pay attention.”

See, we’ve done that same hike over 25 times since moving here last April. While it’s always delightful to get outside and take in the scenery, I had begun to memorize every turn and every incline. Every moment of exertion and every moment of relief. The novelty of the experience had finally worn off to the point where I honestly forgot to take in the view with the gratitude it deserved.

But how often in life do we do this? We concentrate in on whatever’s right in front of us, whatever goal we’re tackling at the moment, and we simply forget to look up.

I think we can all agree that Ferris Bueller said it best: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

Take a moment this weekend to pay attention to what’s going on around you. To pick your head up long enough to appreciate every nuance of the truly miraculous things that might be passing you by. You won’t regret it.