Seeing – The Art of Observation

How much do you really see each moment in time? How much do you see of the people that surround you? Of the buildings and art that you encounter? Of the natural world around you? Do you sometimes take it all for granted and stop noticing the new messages that are coming at you from people, art, and nature?


More often than not, we are so involved in our personal adventures that we don’t physically see what is right in front of us. We get caught up in our heads and focus with blinders or tunnel vision on our emotions, desires, strivings, and accomplishments. Once we embed the essential images of our surroundings and the people that fill them, we often don’t pay attention beyond the immediate need and slip into autopilot. It then becomes easy to miss what is right before our eyes.


I remember the summer that I was living in an Airstream RV, just as a place to sleep in. Most of my time was spent out in the trees, trails, and beaches of Cape Cod. I’d stayed in the Airstream before, so I knew it quite well and hardly saw the interior anymore. I’d arrive at nighttime, flop down in my bunk to sleep, and only stay to heat up water for tea in the morning. It took about 5 days for me to finally see what had been there all along. When I did, it was a shock!dangling mouse feet


Up in a grate on the ceiling of the Airstream was a group of little feet hanging down. Feet of mice that had wintered in the unheated vehicle and died. They were hanging, barely, by their heads. I had walked underneath them a multitude of times during those 5 days, never even noticing them. They were only a few inches above my head, but I never noticed them dangling there. I was so intent on my preconceived notions of what my environment had been in the past that I didn’t look with observant eyes at what was in the present. I was almost functioning in a trance state, not truly interacting with the “now”.


We miss so much! Sometimes being on autopilot is a helpful way of being. But so often, autopilot cuts us off from new thoughts, emotions, ideas, and connections. We don’t notice the messages or synchronicities that are trying to tell us something important…until we are smacked in the face. For example, we don’t register the unhappy emotions that we may be having about some part of our life because they don’t fit into our preconceived notions of who we are. Or we don’t want to feel those emotions and work out what they mean. Then wham! We wind up injured, or having an accident, or getting sick. Only then do we slow down (because we are forced to) and re-evaluate. Only then do we see what we were blind to previously.


I attended a day-long shamanic workshop recently where my lack of attention to what I was seeing in my life was viscerally pointed out to me. In performing an exercise given to us by an Ecuadorian shaman, I discovered what had been troubling me. Sitting under the fir trees on a needle-strewn slope and looking down on a raindrop-sprinkled pond, I was able finally to feel what I’d been avoiding understanding about relationships for years.


Later, when I moved through the woods during another exercise, I found some clarity about my fears about relationships as I grasped the significance of a tree right in front of me. Looking up into the sky, I saw two trunks with their crowns of leaves moving in the wind as if they were having a gentle conversation, sometimes touching and sometimes not. Following the two trunks down to the ground, I saw that they were actually joined at the base. The image was a profound message specifically for me. I began to imagine how I could be in a relationship where I remained true to myself yet was joined to a partner in a mutually beneficial way.


tree trunksAfter the workshop, the image of a tree with multiple trunks fused together at the base was echoed everywhere I looked. Just outside my front door are two such trees. Had I ever noticed them before? Superficially yes, but on a deeper level, clearly not. By being in the moment and deeply seeing, such observations can resonate in our hearts and reveal what may be the very inspiration that we are craving.


The art of seeing – of observation – is one that needs to be practiced in the present moment. The world is constantly changing. In fact, it is in a constant dynamic change. We must observe the world with a child’s eye of innocence so that we can experience the world as it actually is, not what we may have thought it was in past moments. If we don’t stay in the present and allow all possibilities a chance to emerge, then our lives become poorer and less meaningful. We lose out.


The art of observation is the art of perceiving the new, ever-expanding realm of ideas, themes, symbols, messages, answers, clarity, connections, and beauty that are just waiting for us to notice them.



© 2016 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.


IMG_0195Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches Energy Body Tune-up, Stretch/Energy, and Jazz Dance classes and workshops. Email Sheila at:  For more information, visit Sheila’s website at: