The Power of Paying Attention to Your Environment

Yesterday I was out running through the forest. Okay, not so much a forest as the Custis and W&OD bike trails. But it may as well have been a forest. I first saw a rabbit frolicking amidst a grassy side area. As you might guess, with a company named Zen Rabbit, rabbits are my totem animal. I LOVE seeing rabbits.

And then about 20 minutes later, I saw a deer! There was one biker who also saw the deer enjoying her mid-afternoon snack in the foliage. Then there were a whole bunch of other people on the trail who didn’t even notice. They zoomed right by, not paying any attention to what was around them.

That experience got me thinking about how many times people don’t see what’s right in front of them. How many opportunities are missed because they’re too busy getting where they’re going to pay attention to the cool stuff that shows up unexpectedly? I admit I’ve made this mistake many times and will likely make it again. You get caught up in getting stuff done, staying focused on the task at hand and not allowing any outside distractions. At times, that’s the only way to operate and it ensures that you reach your goals.

Other times, though, like a beautiful Sunday afternoon, you need to allow yourself to meander. To be distracted. To get out of your head and into the moment. To allow your attention to wander to whatever is playing on the sides of the trail right now. Who knows what you might suddenly see or what great ideas may come to you.