As an AMI Primary Consultant, one of my most frequent recommendations to teachers was “observe your class”. How else could they truly follow the children and offer appropriate activities and direction?
The same goes for each of us: How can we truly know our next step in life unless we pay attention to what we are feeling, doing, sensing in the current moment? Unless we observe ourselves?
There’s a an old coaching joke about a man who calls a travel agent from a pay phone (it’s obviously a very old joke!) and asks for the quickest way to Cleveland. The travel agent asks the man where he’s calling from; that he needed that information before he could give directions. The man, of course, is clueless and replies only that he is in a phone booth. Hhhmmm…….what do you think his chances are of reaching his destination? What would have happened if our man had observed more closely his present surroundings? What is there were street signs or a phone book or another person walking by?
Take a moment today and stop what you’re doing. Observe: are you doing something with intention or is it another mindless action, i.e. reaching for yet another cookie when you’re not really hungry. What is your feeling state? Are you anxious, bored, tired, restless? How do you feel about what you’re doing? Is it positive or are you admonishing yourself with an, “Oh no, not again!” What would you rather be doing?
By observing ourselves throughout the day we can get a pretty clear sense of whether or not we are showing up in life the way we want or even the way we think we are! That’s the power of self observation.
And once we observe and become more aware of how we’re showing up, then what?
This is where practices like journaling or meditation can help. They can clarify for us what’s really important; focus on new intentions; and even hold us accountable. Instead of following the child, our observations help us follow ourselves. And who knows, we might actually get to Cleveland.