I once listened to a podcast with Richard Rohr, that discussed how negative experiences stick to our mind like velcro while positive experiences swiftly slide away like teflon. In order to absorb the good, we must make a conscious effort to do so. I decided to try to put this notion into practice everyday by intentionally taking 15 seconds to admire the things of beauty I would ordinarily spend two seconds of mental time on. At first, it felt pointless, especially since I consider myself a person who genuinely does notice the good around me naturally. But I thought I’d give it a go anyway, since having perfectionist proclivities, I mentally camp on the bad as well.
A couple of weeks in, it was apparent that the ratio of negative to positive memories in my mind shifted. At the end of the day, when recalling the day’s happenings, I would envisage the blue bird that perched on a bench beside me at lunch. I would feel the incomparable comfort my mom’s voice manages to flood me with even over invisible cell phone waves. I would hear the deep toll of my university’s bell tower that when I close my eyes, takes me back to an era I never had the chance to live in.
After putting this into practice for a couple of months, I realized that not only was I remembering more, but I was noticing more, too. This may seem inconsequential, but for the first time, I knew exactly what the weather was like everyday. I could recall if it was sunny or if it was humid or if there were wispy cirrus clouds overhead. I knew because I was looking. But unlike at first, it was not so much a conscious decision anymore. It was more like a new habit I didn’t have to think about.
I don’t want to be a person who rushes through the day, eager to tick checkboxes in anticipation for 5 o’clock to come already. I want to really listen and really see and really feel. I want to be able to answer, “What’s the weather out?”