When we are deep in the weeds of daily detail, they become our landscape. And it's so easy to do. Managing the details of life can be a full-time job. But a flat mat of minutia can flatten all else, as Knausgaard says beautifully here:
“It is never easy to confront life-changing news, especially when you are deeply embroiled in the everyday and the banal, which we always are. They absorb almost everything, make almost everything small, apart from the few events that are so immense that they lay waste to all the everyday trivia around you.“
-- Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle, Book 2
How do we resist?
We notice as we go. If the details run together in a blur, we don’t notice much. If we train our minds, we can, with luck, notice more of the texture of daily life. Meditation — even a mere 10 minutes a day — is mind training in noticing. (I speak from experience.) It helps us momentarily step back from almost anything, look at it dispassionately, notice both the thing and the looking, possibly appreciate the gorgeousness of the details, then rejoin the fray, thrillingly aware that we are not at its mercy after all.
Step back. Notice. Carry on. So worth it.
Coincidentally, while I was contemplating the idea of noticing, a reader/friend sent me this (below) on Monday. Maybe with age the noticing begins on its own.
One of the things that I have noticed about myself as I age is that despite whatever anxieties I might feel, I find myself noticing things that I previously ignored.
Alders for instance. A swamp breed of trees that are often regarded as a nuisance. With the arrival of spring they too can put on a little show if you look close enough. This morning three different types caught my eye as I wandered around the yard with a coffee.
... I thought that a retirement blog topic could be on how noticing the natural world seems to be good for the soul. I was thinking about meditating today, but strolling around outside has pretty much the same effect.
Maybe one day I will like people enough to notice little things about them too. :-)