Saturday, January 24, 2009


I have always had a stubborn streak.
it has not always served me well.
however, it seems to be a deeply ingrained piece of who I am.

this came to mind the other day as I was riding, when I noticed something I had never before seen while riding up emigration canyon. I have ridden up and down that road at least a hundred times by now, and never until three days ago did I notice the barn with a horse standing beside the gate. I had no idea that the area was zoned for horses, had never even thought about it.
it took a huge "For Sale Horse Property" sign to bring me to this awareness, and as I rode past and looked more deeply into the property, sure enough there was a barn and horse just smiling away at me in delight. look and ye shall find.

I am constantly amazed by how little I actually see. I drive the same roads and streets and routes and am oblivious to most of what streams past my window. when I ride I am aware of a little bit more, as the slower pace allows me more time to observe. well, ideally, anyway, as just proven by my obliviousness to the horse barn.
I once made a commitment to myself to notice one new thing each time I drove a familiar and routine route. say, every time I took a child to their piano lesson, I would pick out a new house to study and remember.
I think that lasted two weeks.
and this is where I tie in my stubbornness. I have some kind of innate system of stubbornness that refuses to work too hard to improve myself. there are thousands of books available that offer suggestions on how to improve your memory, your reading skills, your writing skills, your powers of observation, your efficiency, your whatever-else-there-may-be. and they all suggest small tasks to do on a regular basis that will ultimately increase your effectiveness in whatever area you choose to work on.
I am too stubborn to give any one of them a try. I could offer a hundred excuses as to why not, and it really just comes down to I don't want to have to work that hard. I stubbornly insist that I'm good enough as I am, that I can continue to get better at things in my own little lazy ways. that I don't need help, that I am already pretty darn good at these things.
like my powers of observation: I'm darn observant. why should I employ little techniques to be better? I'm observant enough just as I am.

and then I go for a ride and realize that I had no idea there was a horse 20 yards away from me each time I rode up the canyon. I never caught a whiff, heard a whinny, saw the tiniest telltale sign of a horse's presence.

it's good to be humbled every once in a while.
so my new commitment to myself is to notice one new thing each time I drive a familiar route.
we'll see how long this lasts.

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