Urghhhh… I am reacting to something. It started with a tingling sensation running across my back every so often. I ignored it for a few days until I couldn’t stand it any longer so I took a look. I found my back resembled a two-tone, pimply patchwork quilt. So down the check-list I go; new soap, new body lotion, new food, new medication, new stress, etc., etc. I can’t quite figure it out because I was not paying attention. So I take some anti-allergy medication, say a little prayer, and hope that whatever had caught me off guard was not serious.
When things start to fall apart in our lives, both personal and professional, the announcements are not delivered with “breaking news” fervor sweeping across your multiple media screens. Oh no, they start like tiny whispers from fairy like children in a forest far, far away, that can only be heard or seen by those who are paying attention.
When you start to fall out of favor at work it may start with something as simple as your name being kept off an email or the offers to run a project stop coming and someone “important” says its because you have too much on your plate and you look at your plate and only your reflection looks back. Or when you volunteer to do something and the answer is usually no thanks, we got it. The signs may start to get bigger like being passed over for a promotion that every one (including yourself) knows you were the best candidate for, or your responsibilities start getting reduced until finally you receive your breaking news – I am sorry to inform you that your services at “The Moving On Without You” firm are no longer required…. Are you paying attention?
When your favorite customers who used to frequent your store at least three times a week, start coming in once a week, then every two weeks and then months go buy… and you don’t sell nice-to-haves but need-to-haves like bread, milk, eggs etc. When calls to your most solid sales lead are now met with I can’t talk right now that graduates to I will get back to you but they never do, and then finally the dreaded … beep you have reached Mr./Ms. Long Gone Customer, please leave a message at the beep… BEEP! … Are you paying attention?
When relationships start to go awry they do so quietly like with a missed date night that turns into
3, 4 lets make it 5 times in a row. Those flowers that used show up every Friday just because start showing up … never. The Hi, how are you dear when he/she picks up the phone turn into What, What do you want. The previously unprotected phone suddenly gets a password; an alpha numeric, small letter, random symbol, upper case password of sheer exhausting complexity, or when you go on a date and he/she smothers you with sweet nothings but treats the wait staff like mangy dogs begging for food scraps at your table. Until finally you receive the breaking news – This is not working for me, I need space: We need to break up or worse yet you meet the explosive side of the back of their hand … Are you paying attention?
What’s that you say, your single. Okay, remember when you used to jump out of bed to challenge each day but now you can barely manage a crawl? When you have adopted a “No, not today..” approach towards cleaning and any cleaning adjacent activities. When your food choices are governed by color as in give me that white thing and that other white thing over there. When the pots & pans you so proudly used to prepare exquisite samples of culinary excellence, are replaced by to-go/take-away containers, and finally to the moment when CyAsh; your pet Alsatian a.k.a. German Shepherd starts to growl at you because he too deems you a snout offending stranger… Are you paying attention?
When your friend starts canceling on your get-togethers
3, 4 lets make it 5 times in a row. When calls for let’s do something together this weekend are met with the sound of crickets, a silence so loud it could wake the dead. When social media (ever so sweetly of course) sends you cute messages saying look what your friends were doing this past weekend. Where were you, we missed you. When your “friend” seems to feed off your dark days and plays down your success…. Are you paying attention?
When the goal of exercising you set at the beginning of the year with a commitment to do so every other day becomes every other week, then every other month. When the scale starts to go in the opposite direction of your desired plan for its directional focus. When the tiny trolls in your closet keep adjusting the size of your clothes. When that slightly irritating cough starts leaving you breathless, when you start to forget the most simplest of things, when that black spot on your leg starts growing, when your previously active parents start opting to stay at home as opposed to going to the farm … Are you paying attention?
The universe is conspiring in your favor everyday so when it starts seeing you veering off course, it starts sending little signals and signs until it eventually appears to tire and seemingly says … What The Heck, our lovely human is heading for a cliff and keeps ignoring all our “little” signs so let us send them a wrecking ball sized sign to get their attention and set them back on course… as painful as that may be.
Yes, you can say that the standard he/she had set of calling you every day just to say hi was unrealistic and was bound to end, or you could pay attention to the fact that if someone has been calling you everyday for 6 months in a row then starts to change that pattern ever so slightly at first and then in leaps and bounds that it is a sign that something is wrong.
Do yourself a favor. Set a reminder to pay attention to the everyday nuances of life. The subtle messages you receive can make the difference between starting from scratch or starting just one step behind or better yet, not having to restart at all. A great way to do this is to always be in the moment. When you are actively present and participating in this thing called life be it at home, work, school, or on the road, nothing will pass you by because you were …. Yup you guessed it PAYING ATTENTION!
So tell me, did you see Darth Vader cross the page as you were reading?