We Are To Be Good Noticers


“We are to be good noticers,” I shared with them. For so long now, I’ve been seeking the most simple narratives of why we gather in circle to talk and listen with each other.

This time, “them” were participants at the retreat and training that I cohosted last week. There were 14 of us from varied locations within the US and Canada. But this could be any group. Teachers. Community organizers. A private conversation with my daughter.

It matters that any of us seek to see the less obvious — that’s the kind of human I am, and I suppose, seek to be. Like when I walk early morning and see this flower above growing roadside on Whidbey Island, Washington. It holds my attention, for a noticed moment.

Life is nuanced so much more than a marketing pitch to get me to buy shit that I don’t need, or than a political manipulation that isn’t unlike a party at which everyone must sort through everyone else’s two lies and a truth.

Noticing matters. It isn’t all figured out. And perhaps isn’t meant to be.

Noticing together matters. About our projects. About our community needs. About our respective human journeys. About what will carry us to the future. About what has been significant from our pasts.

And I have this hunch that our noticing together isn’t just about gaining more perspective — though it often seems to me that that would be enough. Our noticing together changes the nature and makeup of the very thing we are noticing. It’s that dynamic.

And that, rather changes the noticing context, doesn’t it. We notice something into being — its relevance. Its connectedness. Its momentary place of belonging. Just as we listen a story into being with our attentiveness.

We are to be good noticers. Individually and collectively. That’s a simple that I’ll stay with today, seeking flowers, if not externally along roadsides, internally along inner roadsides.

We are to be good noticers.