You missed that…

You missed that. Right now, you are missing the vast majority of what is happening around you. You are missing the events unfolding in your body, in the distance, and right in front of you. By marshaling your attention to these words, helpfully framed in a distinct border of white, you are ignoring an unthinkably large amount of information that continues to bombard all of your senses: the hum of the fluorescent lights, the ambient noise in a large room, the places your chair presses against your legs or back, your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, the tension you are holding in your shoulders or jaw, the map of the cool and warm places on your body, the constant hum of traffic or a distant lawn-mower, the blurred view of your own shoulders and torso in your peripheral vision, a chirp of a bug or whine of a kitchen appliance.

~ Alexandra Horowitz, On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation (Scribner; April 15, 2014)

Notes – Quote: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: Woman with Long Hair, Man Ray 1929 (via Newthom)


  1. with sensory overload and becoming numb to it all, brains and feelings so fleeting, darting here and there, never landing on any one thing, something huge is lost, and nothing is gained

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Is it just me? I find that totally pretentious…. sorry. As artificial as Man Ray’s compo (as magnificent as it is, but where would you hang that?).
    (I’m quite happy and well, since you were surely going to ask 😉 – but one can’t win every day)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is mindfulness meditation. Bringing our attention to things we would normally have missed. When we slow down and pause we can take more in and become a witness to more and more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I so love the countless ways Presence (or mindfulness, or conscious awareness, or or or) is expressed. All the same pointers, spoken in different languages. Eventually one of those languages, one of those teachers, one of those gateway situations hits its mark. Thanks Dave (also for the spellbinding image).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes. Mindfulness is a state of being.
    It’s funny. On Wednesday, while sitting in my canteen, for a “quiet moment” (i.e. no customers, everything stocked, nothing needing my attention) I was so aware of just how many sounds I am being bombarded with in that tiny space. The hum of the three fridges – each their own sound, the clicking of the hot plate, the whir of the A/C, the flapping of my protective plexiglass “window” every time a breeze came. It was both disconcerting and oddly soothing at the same time.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Our sad reality!! … “Right now, you are missing the vast majority of what is happening around you. You are missing the events unfolding in your body, in the distance, and right in front of you.” … Alexandra Horowitz, On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation (Scribner; April 15, 2014).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There is so much noise out there – it is easy to miss — and some of it, can easily be ‘missed’ yet not missed. – It is extraneous. – I think the art of mindfulness/calm/Presence is found in the noticing of what creates beauty, calm, joy and bathing in all of that without ‘the noise’ distracting you from all the wonder and beauty all around and within you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. it seems as if we paid attention to everything around us, we wouldn’t be able to focus on any particular task or get anything done…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Simone Weil, “Prayer is absolute attention.”

    We attend..we pay…a tension …a tension we pay
    a price
    we look at one thing…we experience deeply one dot … (not three, like I love to do)
    we lose the others

    but somehow we still come through the sacrifice
    larger, further, stretched somehow.

    through Weil’s definition.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. If I had that picture hanging on a wall here, my neck would hurt every time I looked at it. But on the writing part of the post, it’s interesting to play at being aware of the tiny sounds and smells and sensations around us at any time, but we have to learn to tune out many of them and focus on what matters or we would go crazy. Can you imagine if we met someone for a lunch date and all we could do is sit there and think about the lights buzzing, or the clock ticking, or the cash register ka-chinging in the background. “So how have you been – oh listen to that man’s runners squeaking on the floor – what have you been up to lately – good grief, that coffee machine is sputtering….” We have to tune out the trivia or we wouldn’t be able to function. I wouldn’t say we’re missing out on life by not making these things the main features in our lives. We have to learn to sort the “wheat from the chaff” so to speak. I’m not missing a thing, as Ms. Horowitz suggests; I’m just assigning a place for these things and prioritizing. It’s important to be able to sort information. What a population of crazies we would be if we went through life focusing on all the trivia she mentions.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Okay then. Two of you…

    Liked by 1 person


  1. […] was August 7th when David Kanigan suggested I write a post based on my response to his post “You Missed That…”  Here we are, the last day of August and I am finally writing it.  I did start writing last night […]

    Liked by 1 person

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