#BlogElul 5776 #ElulGram – Elul 9: Observe

Observe
photo taken in my neighbor’s garden

Strangely enough, all day long today, I was persuaded that the prompt for #BlogElul Day 9 was “See”. It may have been because yesterday was “Hear’, but I am not sure. I was surprised I was mistaking because the list is set in front of my eyes on my desk and because it is also on my computer and in many of the places I stumble upon with the carnival of blog posts that the series allows navigating.

When I sat to work on writing today’s post, I realized my error and became puzzled and more preoccupied with why I had mentally shifted one word for the other when they are not synonyms at all I believe.

So I checked my thesaurus, one of those cherished places in my toolbox, where I can get lost in procrastination for hours, just hopping from one word to another. You see, I am not so much of a visual person. I hear more or see with my emotions and heart more than with my eyes. For instance, I would seldom nod and say “I see” to show my understanding of something, unless someone is explaining a misunderstanding I had of a sentence in English (in which cases, there is very little to actually see, but apparently, that’s what we all say, you see what I mean?).

And in my thesaurus, in the antonyms section of “observe,” there was “OVERLOOK”.

Oh, how happy I was! All day long, this was what I had been looking for, the beauty that is overlooked because we pay little attention all the time, the good in someone because our brains make a split decision on whether we like or not what we see in about seven seconds, seven! isn’t it insane? From the second we see a person, it takes us seven seconds to pass a mental judgment and it becomes pretty difficult thereafter to get rid of that filter we applied to our first impression.

So why do we overlook what is inside a person beyond the appearances? Why don’t we act with people the same as we do with nature, with photography, with letters, with ideas, why don’t we stop taking for a fact what took us only seven seconds to assess and label? Observing will take an effort indeed, because it means bypassing the emotional side of any perception: our instincts are wired to go fast for survival, no time to analyze the nature of a danger if it arises in front of us in the form of something new, we are meant to make a split decision in order to avoid danger. It is not wise to observe the path of the pain that goes from a burn to the brain and back to the source of fire, better remove that hand from the burning stove before it is very damaged beyond repair.

But there are some pains that we know are going to befell us.

There are some times when we learn of a fate that is going to send us spiraling in dark places of unknown and scare. The knowledge that this is likely to be upon us and we do not know exactly when is an incentive for us to observe carefully, to notice and not overlook any of the emotions that are going through us. Because this is the only way we are going to be able to still keep going and act, we will act scared, but the important is to act. And it will allow the world to be a better place despite nothing in it being eternal.

This year, I have committed to a daily blog in English to participate in @imabima’s project of Elul. I will dedicate my endeavor for the רפואה שלמה complete healing of   מרדכי אלעזר בן חנה מרים (Mordechai ben Chanah).

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Otir

French blogger in the US writes on cultural differences, disabilities, religion, social media and politics.

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