“He was thinking that in nearly every person there was some special physical part kept always guarded. With the mute his hands. The kid Mick picked at the front of her blouse to keep the cloth from rubbing the new, tender nipples beginning to come out on her breast. With Alice it was her hair; she used never to let him sleep with her when he rubbed oil in his scalp. And with himself?”
~ Carson McCullers, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
I take my right shoe off before my left.
When I step forward, my little toe comes down before my big toe.
When coasting on my bike, I usually have my right foot in front.
When he’s absorbed in reading, he clicks his fingernail against his tooth.
She almost always wears navy blue.
There is a picture of purple and yellow flowers above the Martha Jefferson MRI machine.
2. Notice What You Notice
Sometimes all I see are the flowers. Sometimes, I only see the weeds.
Sometimes I put all my attention on what is working well. Teaching the same focus during the week with different routines for each class. Making meals like tacos and salads and sandwiches that everyone can customize for themselves. Following the 13 Moon Calendar and wearing the color of the day. Feeling the ease in my feet and neck.
Other times my focus is on what’s not working. My cueing is too late. I’m procrastinating around writing. I’m not sleeping well. My right shoulder aches.
I have good reasons for noticing both. And for noticing what I’m noticing.
3. Notice What You Don’t Notice
A dear, wise friend gave me a book, The Pen and The Bell by Brenda Miller and Holly J. Hughes. I love it. It’s like Nia for writing! The chapter I read last night suggests:
Each day, try to look closely at something you think you already know well….Observe it for longer than a few seconds. Can you pick up on any forgotten or unexpected details?
I love this idea but I don’t have time for that these days.
Later, stroking the hair I’ve stroked for 16 years I notice that it’s grayer than I realized near his temples, almost completely dark brown at the back. He hasn’t gotten it cut since he’s been hurt, so now it curls around his ears and along his neck.
* * *
As I lift up into Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Sara says, “Look up with your eyes, not your eyebrows.” Oh my gosh. I realize I’m straining so hard with my eyebrows, they’re practically up under my hair. I’d never noticed that before. And then in every pose, I realize I’m almost always lifting my eyebrows. And when I’m brushing my teeth and trolling through the grocery store and talking and watching soccer…
* * *
“Swing your arms, sweetie!” says Frank as we’re hiking through a pine forest. I am often unaware that I’m walking with only my lower body and I’m not letting my arms swing free. Hmm. I wonder if that’s why my shoulder hurts?