babylearningwalkI was reading something recently where supposedly we don’t see ourselves changing.  Part of me was nodding. This is why people get measured and weighed before working with a personal trainer, take before pictures then start their diet, and keep a pair of “I want to fit into those again” jeans around. We don’t see the changes day by day because we live in our bodies, the changes are small and incremental and before you know it, you’ve changed. We each experience this on New Years. We have an intentional mark on the calendar that notes the last year from this new one and we can look at us then and the us now and see the difference.  There’s enough change to contrast with. It can even seem like we’re a completely different person. The change might have been so all-consuming that we never had a chance to get above it and see it in action.

Part of me heard that statement and when “What???!!!” Because there are plenty of us who do see the change. No one who’s had a baby hasn’t noticed the changes as they happen during pregnancy or the changes that happen with childbirth or the changes from healing and nursing and being a mother…Believe me, that mom and everyone around her notices the changes as they are happening. Having a new-born and raising a child are all about the changes. What’s more notable is what doesn’t change. Things that should change and don’t are a red flag. Traditions and joys which last over time are precious and a gift. Or how about starting a new job? We notice the changes in us and our life. Everything for a while is about adjusting, coping and adapting. How about a new relationship? Or ending a relationship and starting a new phase of life? There are so many times when we notice the change. We have to work not to notice them which is an acrobatic feat.

What strikes me is not that we may or may not notice the changes within us, but our choice to notice…or not. In lives busier than anything in recorded human history, with sensory and information overload, where we are not seeking out stimulation but inventing ways in which to deflect, filter, or control it, we can so very easily ignore ourselves and what living does to change us. We can become passive experiencers allowing change to happen to us. Fair enough. However, the other option is to put attention on us. It’s part of the examined life. It doesn’t necessarily require a slowing down or altering of what we do, just a shift in our focus, a shuffling of priorities, of where we put the emphasis. Like paying attention to the day when every outstanding craft project gets done as if some stage director said “Now!” Or noticing when the little outstanding items magically click into place one after the other in a one week period. Looking outside for causes, meaning, and message is all well and good, but we might also look inward for what has changed inside us allowing for the pieces to all fall into place.