I've had many experiences in recent months of doing familiar things with someone unfamiliar. It has been interesting to notice the shift in my own perspective that has resulted.
As we walk through the well-trodden routines in our lives, it’s easy to get into a groove. Our mind is expert at pattern spotting, at noticing what is the same and similar, and in dropping these things out of conscious attention. After all, if things seem always to be the same there may appear to be no new information to notice, nothing noteworthy to demand our attention or energy.
When something new is added, what we notice can change. For example, when you invite someone into your home for the first time you may see it through their eyes, noticing things you want to tidy or rearrange that did not occur to you before. Or when you go somewhere you visit a lot with someone who has not been before, you may perceive different aspects of it, noticing things that may always have been there, but are new to you.
This experience of newness in familiar patterns has reminded me of the benefits of bringing mindful attention to what I do and live through. It has been literally a revelation at times to be aware in a different way of situations, of spaces and of people. The richness of noticing has left me a little aghast at what I've been missing, but mostly really thankful for what I am now aware of.
If there are places and patterns in your life that you move through on automatic pilot, why not find ways to wake up to the next time you are with them. Take a few moments to stand somewhere different, to take a new path, to look with fresh eyes. Notice what you have been taking for granted, and notice what else is there that you had forgotten or just not perceived.
There is always more. Each experience in life is different, and unique. Even the ones that on the surface look the same. You have never had this day. You have never before been exactly as you are today. Neither has anyone you come into contact with. What is there to be savoured and appreciated? And what difference are you making to how this life unfolds?