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Chalk QuoteSince the summer, I’ve been working on noticing more. Noticing what’s going on around me, noticing the little synchronicities that seem to happen with increasing regularity, noticing the beauty in just about everything.

I first took on this noticing challenge last June, around the same time my son and I traveled to New York City, where I spent my twenties. Being in New York City with the intention of noticing was intense, because, let’s face it, there’s a lot to notice.

But all that noticing paid off. It helped me to receive the messages, literally, that the city had for me.

The first message was on the stairs leading up from the subway station on 28th and Broadway. I had just dropped my 6-year-old son off at a camp and was feeling anxious about whether or not he’d do okay. They were going on a field trip to some organic farm in Bed Stuy, and he’s not a NYC city kid. What if he wandered away from the group? What if he stepped off a street corner at the wrong time? These were the scenarios I was running through my head as I looked up and saw the following words painted along the back of a step:

Everything is going to be alright

I laughed. Thanks universe.

The following afternoon, I’d left my son with a friend and headed out to run my old loop in Central Park. My mind was racing as I weaved through other runners, bikers, roller-bladers, and horse-drawn buggies. My meetings had been intense and I was feeling a strange combination of excitement, possibility, and fear as I pondered where I should focus my energies, how I could make the most of the opportunities I was being presented with. That’s when I started noticing messages along the running trail. Every couple hundred meters or so were the following words scrawled in chalk:

Become Your Dream

Nice. I laughed again, curious about who had scribbled the words and why, wondering about how many people had read and were internalizing this lovely sentiment.

The last message came on my last day in the city, when I caught up with an old friend at Union Square Park. We talked about a million things, including what I was working on every day: living in the moment, being present, and noticing. And as we walked to the subway station to hug goodbye, we stepped over the following message scrawled on the sidewalk:

Be mindful even if your mind is full

It was just what I needed to hear, just the send off I needed as I said goodbye to the city and prepared to head home.

Since that trip, I’ve continued to see messages everywhere, including the 3-mile path around Seattle’s Green Lake I sometimes run around. Recent messages included: Smile! and Be kind ‘cause you never know who you inspire to do the same, and Happy thoughts.

Happy thoughts indeed.

These messages have reinforced in me what all this noticing has pointed out – when you live your life in the moment (not fixated on what went wrong last week or what might happen in the future), life can be truly magical. And who doesn’t need a little magic in her life?