One December day I was driving south on I-77 in North Carolina and I noticed something strange: the leaves were so shiny!
It seems silly to mention this now. Of course they were shiny – the sun was shining on them.
But the thing is, I had never noticed that before. I had probably seen it – but never noticed it. There’s a difference.
In that moment, as I was gunning it at 70 heading for Florida, I felt so much joy. How could it be that there was so much beauty – so much wonder – on the interstate thanks to the sun and some trees?
This is what mindfulness work does. It opens you up to noticing things.
You start by noticing your thoughts – maybe for the first time. You stay curious to them: how interesting that I am thinking that thought right now?
Then you start noticing other stuff. The single leaf suspended by a thread, spinning in the breeze. The subtle rasp in a bird’s tweet. The detail of the bark on a white birch.
All this spills over into business too. I noticed what was unsaid in the conversations I had with customers – the tone, the subtle inflection. I felt connection with my team – their happiness and their frustrations.
It was as if I had been looking through a pinhole and suddenly the aperture opened.
There was a whole world of beauty, detail and amazement that I’d never noticed before.
Why, I thought, do we desire to get blasted by movie special effects when there’s so much joy driving south on I-77?