Wherever you are right now, can you tell how your body feels? (Relaxed or sore or shaky, or something else?)
Who is noticing that?
How do you feel emotionally? Happy or sad or mad or scared or bored or irritable or exhausted or excited?
Who’s noticing that?
Before you started reading this, were you thinking about the past or future or were you present, in the moment?
How about now?
Who is it that answers all those questions?
It’s your Observer. We all have one and it is a powerful perspective to have.
Because when we look at ourselves through that observing lens, that bird’s eye view of ourselves, we can see things more objectively, sometimes noticing that there’s a lot more going on than we would have acknowledged if someone asked us.
Example: I thought I was irritable when I walked in the house after taking my kids to school and a lonely lunch box was sitting on the counter. When I rest my attention on the irritability, however, I see that I’m actually feeling really bad that my kid is going to be hungry today and there’s nothing I can do about that. I notice my heart feels heavy and my stomach is a bit nauseas. The irritation seems to have disappeared. I feel helplessness and I also notice that I know that his experience has nothing to do with me. Not my responsibility to fix it and not a reflection on me that he struggles to keep track of stuff. He’ll be okay. Now I’ll be able to hear him tell me he forgot his lunch without rolling my eyes or saying something snarky. I’ll be able to respond to however he’s feeling about it when he gets home. I could even have a snack ready and waiting.
Pretty cool. That kind of stuff happens all the time when I pay just a little bit of attention to what’s going on with me when I get a forgotten-lunch-box-sized irritation or a someone-told-me-my-daughter-is-being-mean-at-school-sized fear. When I observe my thoughts, feelings, sensations, and then more thoughts, more feelings, and more sensations.
When you are driving down the road, you can ask, how am I feeling and who is noticing that? When you see the caller id on your phone, ask, how do I feel about the person calling, and who is noticing that?
If you just ask, how do I feel about this person calling, you might answer, anxious because they are about to tell me how my brother’s surgery went.
But when you add that second question: ‘Who is noticing that?’ Or ‘Who is observing that?’ You realize that there is a bigger picture view you can take of yourself that isn’t so tied up in how you feel. It’s just observing it.
Who is noticing that I feel anxious about this phone call? The observer is noticing that I’m anxious. A new perspective becomes available with this wider lens on the situation.
What happens then to the anxiety? Do you have a little more space to take a deeper breath before you answer the phone? Are you a little more confident that you can handle whatever the news might be?
Let the answers to the questions sweep you up and out of yourself to a view from just above your head or from a mountain top or from the heavens.
Observe away and don’t forget to ask who is observing so you get the full awareness of that bigger picture perspective.
And by all means, tell me what that’s like for you.