Focussing on “the Familiar Thoroughly Seen” used to be off-putting to me.  Some background:  on the Enneagram I identify with the # 7.  This type, as I’ve alluded to before, craves new experiences, tends to dart quickly, often quite hectically, from one project to another, is a “grass is always greener over there” kind of person.  So when I heard someone say he really loved “the familiar thoroughly seen”, and this someone was my love and (second) husband to be, I was startled, and a bit alarmed.  

familiar thoroughly seen

Well, in the over 30 years we’ve spent together, I have, we both have, grown and changed a lot.  I have learned to slow down, drive a Surrey instead of a Race Car, at least much more often, come to experience myself as a deep well, not just a flitting butterfly, to breathe deeply, to explore “forest bathing” — a leisurely, fully sensous, slow walk in the woods…. And as the years have gone by, oh joy and surprise, I have come to see these changes not as a loss, a great sacrifice (which is how they felt from my fast-paced, get-it-done-and-move-on, pleasure-seeking, graspy place), but as a deepening, a gift, a journey of unfolding, expanding, enriching.  

So when I recently came across a quote by Alfred North Whitehead“It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious,” this time I was able to take it in, and to grok its implications.  What comes up for me is the great pleasure I had as a teenager, when I took biology in summer school, looking through a microscope at the teeny tiny squiggly organisms. such as amoebae and paramecia... and being entirely entranced, captivated.  

familiar thoroughly seen

Or when I am feeling dreary or discontent with the ordinariness of life, how when I really pay attention, to anything, the water running over my hands, the dew on the grass, the three-times reblooming orchid on our dining room table — a similar thing happens.  I feel alive, full of grace, gratitude, and my awareness expands, I feel peaceful and blessed.  At least that happens quite often 🙂  Not that that is really the analysis of the obvious that requires an unusual mind.  But it is shifting my focus from my usual patterns to really opening to the familiar thoroughly seen.  

What happens for you when you shift focus this way — living life fully, seeing and being the miraculous? I’d love to hear! 

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, andgrowth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook. 

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