Take Notice

26 February 2015

Take Notice

This month I had every intention of writing a blog on Individualised funding but the location in which I began writing has changed my focus. I am sitting in the gardens outside the airport in Canberra – which for those from afar, is Australia’s capital city and the hub of all things political. The airport reflects that, it is very well planned and rather modern in its look. There are mainly people flying in and out for parliamentary reasons present and unlike most other airports attention has been paid to the outside space, hence me being able to wait for my flight in a very well manicured garden. I looked up from my computer and saw the most fantastic thing and it was that experience that changed the focus of my blog to the idea of ‘Taking Notice’.

I witnessed a man impeccably dressed in a well tailored suit come outside with his briefcase, place it down and then remove his shoes and socks taking great care to place them neatly by the case to then walk out into the middle of the grass. He simply stood there quietly looking around and occasionally taking a few steps in different directions. He did this for about fifteen minutes while all around him people rushed about dressed in a similar manner. They all looked rushed and focused on to their next meeting or the flight they had to catch. He then proceeded to put his shoes and socks back on and walk away.

One of the headings of the 5 Ways of wellbeing is Take Notice and it’s funny how so many people in training struggle with such a seemingly small thing. ¬†When talking about planning with individuals they support or even thinking about their own life, it often seems easier to clarify what “good busy” looks like then the idea of being in the moment and taking notice of your surroundings. It’s the “smell the roses” part of our days and weeks that you can’t necessarily plan for but need to allow space to happen. It’s not about people doing nothing and being bored and it’s certainly not something we can always fit neatly into a weekly timetable, but something that can help us to connect to our surroundings. It’s the extra moment to take your shoes off on the grass, notice the latest flower in the garden or even stop while on your way to catch a train to listen to the beautiful music coming from a busker that that could well be playing in a concert hall.

There was an experiment a few years ago involving violinist Joshua Bell, who plays to audiences who pay around $100 a ticket to hear him. Joshua took his violin to a DC subway for an hour and only 6 people stopped for a short amount of time, the rest paid no attention. He played for an hour and very few people stopped to hear one of the best violinists in the world because they were too busy to take notice. Whilst the experience was partially about perception and taste it was also about priorities and whether or not we stop to appreciate things.

My experience with the barefoot suited man has if nothing else made me think about whether I need to sometimes take my shoes off in the grass more often figuratively speaking, rather than having my head down on the computer.

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