The Victory of Noticing

The Victory of Noticing

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I went to a yoga class. Not something I had done in many years, it was refreshing and relaxing. I loved every wobbly moment of it. At the end, during the relaxation phase, the instructor was encouraging us to all just let go, release the thoughts and anxieties in our minds and bodies and let ourselves be. She said to be present in ourselves and to notice. Then she said “Noticing is the victory”. If I wasn’t so relaxed at the moment, I’d have stood up and hugged her.

On the way home from the class, my friend and I were talking about the class and I was saying how I need this woman to follow me around all day long with her soothing voice and bits of wisdom and encouragement. Then we both at the same time mentioned this comment that she’d made about the noticing. It struck a chord with both of us and stood out as the moment in class that really brought home what all of this being still and present is all about. Noticing.

I have days that I am so caught up in worries in my own brain that I don’t see anything. An unexpected visitor comes by and I spend so much time worrying that my house is lived in messy that I barely even pay attention to the conversation. I don’t notice her smile or her words of praise for the beauty she sees in our chaos here.

I have moments that I am so caught up in do this, do that, go here, go there that I don’t even notice that all my little guy wants to do is sit on the living room floor and have storytime or play trains.

I wish it wasn’t this way. I wish I was always relaxed and present and not worried or thinking of what needs to be done. The moments that I do let go and am present and notice are the moments that make up the days that feel victorious. Where when it’s all over and I’m curled up in my bed at night I can think of all those smiles I noticed, all the requests I fulfilled for the little people, all the graciousness that I took in around me and all the beautiful things that make up the world around me.

I have other kinds of days too. Days that look productive because my house is tidy and my laundry is folded and I got my list of errands complete. But on those days, I might not be able to tell you what book my daughter read in her room by herself while I was busy. I might not be able to tell you what snack my 3 year old helped himself to while I was doing other things. I can tell you about the shattered glass jar across the kitchen floor from when he had to climb in the fridge himself to make himself a sandwhich because I was scrubbing the shower. Not much noticing going on in those busy days. I never go to bed feeling better about a tidy and clean house than I do the days that were filled with moments of real living.

It’s a balancing act for sure. I am not entirely willing to drop one for the other. I can’t embrace every moment I am in if I am surrounded by messes. It’s just not me. I can’t embrace every moment I am in if I am worried about a friend or a loved one. But I can find time each day to let those things go, if only for a little while and be. Notice. Stop doing and live. It’s not easy, but it’s true that noticing is the victory.

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  1. I feel the same way sometimes, I’m so busy doing stuff, that I don’t notice the people around me. Sometimes I’ll look at my husband, and suddenly feel like I haven’t really LOOKED at him in hours, I’ve just been glancing at him and nodding in response to what he says while my brain and body are busy elsewhere.

  2. This is a lovely post – and perfectly timed for me. I am always struggling to find the balance between being and doing. I don’t want to let the stress of undone laundry or messy rooms drain the joy from my too-short time with these four precious children in my home. Unforunately, I too often do.

    Today I’m going to spend more time noticing.

  3. This is wonderful – thanks. You captured perfectly why I love yoga (both as a philosophy and as a physical practice.) It can allow you to tap into and notice those real moments. Glad you found something in it that translated to the rest of your life.

  4. This is a wonderful post, but I really wanted to comment on the spectacular picture. That picture really touched me and completed this post thoroughly.

  5. I’ve been so freaking busy lately that I NEEDED this post.

    Thanks, friend!

  6. great post. I think most of us moms feel the same way.

  7. Great post and it goes so well with the one on Clover Lane today too! Wow! the message I keep hearing…It’s one of those moments when you know something bigger is at work than just a coincidence!Thanks!

  8. We learn the same lessons at the same time…maybe that’s why I like you so much! :)

  9. You are so right – and that is one of the best Mother & Daughter photographs I have EVER seen!

  10. This was a wonderful post. I am the same way-I cannot embrace the moment surrounded by messes. There definitely is a balance. It seems that if I’m not “blinded” by cleaning and organizing, then I’m “blinded” by the clutter and rushing to find matching socks for my son when he suddenly decides he wants to go with his dad. It’s good to be reminded of what’s most important-that tends to make the balancing act a little easier.

  11. Thank You! I needed to hear this! You made my evening!

  12. I knew I was missing you! I need to notice more!!

    Thanks and Merry Christmas!!


  13. What an amazing post, and an amazing sentiment! I just wrote it down and pinned it up on my board. I just love that. Thank you!
    ~Angela :-)
    P.S. And look, you DID wave a magic wand! It’s all done! I guess magic wands just take a few years to work. Ha. ;-)

  14. I just came across your blog from YHL’s blog. I guess I was meant to click on your name when you responded on their blog.

    Thanks for reminding me that I need to stop and notice my life. I don’t have children yet, but the stress and anxiety in my life right now is super high. I have to go home tonight and start doing my Yoga again. When I was going to Yoga classes, there was calm in my life and I learned to notice more and relax more. I think I need to go back to Yoga classes or make the time at home to do it. Thank you for a wonderful post. Thank you for reminding me that there is more to life then the craziness going around me. :D

  15. I have been arrested with the victory of noticing this Christmas. We delivered our 3rd child November 29 and so I did A-L-L my shopping and planning in Oct/Nov. It has been so much fun actually enjoying the season and preparing our hearts for the birth of Christ.

  16. Emily- I have recently discovered your beautiful blog and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your heart, hopes, noticings, ideas and struggles with all of us. So many things you have unearthed about yourself along your journey have resonated so clearly with my own heart I just had to say thank you. I pray that you and your family have a wonderful holiday and that your beautiful home feels exactly like that- home.

  17. Beautifully stated. :) Beautiful photo as well. ;) Happy Holidays!

  18. this is what it is all about. there was a sign in the yoga studio where I went for training, it said – what if the hokey pokey is what it is all about?

    That really struck a chord with me.

    I think you should keep going to yoga : )
    just saying.

  19. Thank you for writing out exactly what has been on my mind lately! This was just what I needed to read today to remind me to enjoy every moment this week leading up to Christmas.

  20. You had me at the title. And I also love that photo. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Kids notice too. They notice the times you aren’t paying attention a lot more than they notice the times the bathroom is clean. The other day I was doing something (I can’t even remember what!) at the table while my 3yr old daughter was having lunch. She was telling me something and asked me to look. I said I did and she said, “No mom, look with both eyes!” That stopped me. I realized I hadn’t even looked at all at what she was talking about. She talks a lot, but that’s really no excuse! I like to sit with them while they eat, but I’m regularly reminded that physically being there isn’t always enough and they KNOW when I’m not mentally there!

    Thanks for the reminder, especially this time of year when we all tend to get caught up in things.

  22. 3 teens later, I’d say YES, it’s a balancing act. I barely even have expectations any more. LOL. Working on a post about this right now for first of year.

    Happy to catch up here … been too “busy!” :(

  23. Emily, this is such a lovely sentiment. I was just thinking this very thing the other day, about how living in the present, not resenting the past, or focusing too much of our time on the future, allows us to live and be in the moment, and that’s where you find peace.

    Loved this so much!

  24. I love the message that yoga gives me. I feel that same way, wishing my favorite yoga instructor would follow me around each day…
    I just introduced my 10 and 12 year-old boys to yoga because I wanted them to receive these same messages. I wrote about how it went for them at my site. Some parts of their experience were expected others were not. But overall, I’m glad they have yoga in their lives now.

  25. I love this…really, I love this.

  26. This post is beautiful and echoes everything on my own heart these days. I need my yoga teacher to also follow me and whisper wise things all day. It is amazing how good they are for the soul. Beautiful reminders, Emily!