Just notice

Last night, I was taking a walk outside by the river.  It was a warm winter night and I was talking to someone I care about on the phone.

But then I hit a moment when I noticed that my heel didn’t feel good.

What was going on?

No matter, I’ll just keep walking. My legs were loving how good it felt to walk, after sitting all day.

But that heel again.

I knew I must have had a blister on my foot, but figured I could ignore it. I just really, really wanted to keep walking. But it kept hurting, a little bit with every step.

And this sensation, this truth – you’ve reached your limit, Katie – kept reasserting itself, getting stronger and stronger.

So I finally turned around and went home. 

This experience is such a perfect example of what I’ve been thinking a lot about recently: the gap between your realization of truth and acting on truth. You know those times – those time gaps between “your body becoming aware that there is a problem” and “acting to solve that problem.”

My “truth,” and, frankly, most truths, started out small. Did I really need to listen to it? Maybe I could just ignore it. But then it got bigger and bigger, and the negotiations continued.

How often do we do that in the rest of our lives?

  • How often do we keep eating because it feels so good, past the point that our belly says, “I’m full” ?
  • For how long do we continue to unwrap foil-covered chocolates and stuff them into our mouths, standing up, when we’re not hungry, before we ask ourselves the honest question, “What else is going on here?”
  • For how long do we stay late at work, pushing and ignoring the tightness in our chests and the crying inside our hearts and our bellies, before we acknowledge that we’ve hit our limit?
  • For how long do we spend time with friends or lovers who don’t make us feel like we are flourishing, but instead make us feel like we aren’t allowed to be fully ourselves? When will we acknowledge that it is time for the relationship to wind down?

I ask each of these specific questions, because I’ve had to ask them to myself.

More importantly, I ask each of these questions because recently I’ve been thinking about the gap between the noticing and the acting. Sometimes, I feel annoyed with myself when I notice that I’m acting in a way that’s not consistent with my inner truth: “Katie, you are exhausted by social time! Why did you agree to go out with a friend today?” or “Katie, you are obviously eating that spoonful of peanut butter because you don’t feel like working. Aren’t we past this already?” Then I have to stop that mean self-talk.

Because, you know what? The noticing is powerful. The noticing is transformative.

This week, I humbly suggest that you give some love to the noticing of what’s true.

Notice it in your mind.

Say it out loud. Look in a mirror and say it out loud.

Write it down. This works especially well if you use a beautiful pen or marker, and perhaps some stickers.

If you can’t stop yourself from doing whatever you are doing that is counter to your truest needs, then so be it. Maybe you will next time.

Or maybe you won’t be measurably closer to acting on your truth next time, but I can promise that if you concentrate on the noticing, you will move towards your best life, faster than you thought possible. It has been 100% true for me.

Good luck, my dear friend.