Sometimes you can be looking so hard for something that you don’t see it, even though it’s right in front of you.
Your glasses. Your keys. Your air pods. You get frantic about it, assuming it’s lost. You start retracing your steps.
You search high and low for the thing you’re missing, emptying out bags and drawers. Perhaps you even search in places where the object never was, places where you never would put it to begin with.
Just in case it ended up there somehow.
After dumping out the drawers and frantically searching, perhaps you give up. You resign yourself to the fact that it’s lost.
And then, seemingly out of nowhere, it appears. Your glasses are right there, in the place you looked a dozen times and then once more just to be sure, even though I already checked there.
Perhaps you even momentarily held them while you were looking.
What happened? How did you miss it?
In the freneticism of looking so hard for the thing you lost, you didn’t see what was right in front of you.
The belief that you had lost something, and the frantic search for it, triggered your nervous system into fight-or-flight mode. Believing it was under attack, your nervous system sent a message to your eyes to narrow their focus.
When you’re running from a bear, you don’t need a lot of peripheral vision. You just need to focus on the clear path of escape.
When we’re in deep distress, our senses narrow in on us. We don’t see as broadly. We don’t hear as clearly. We may not even realize what we are holding in our hands, or wearing on our bodies — this explains why we can lose our glasses while wearing them on our heads.
As we back off in our intensity, as we step away in surrender, the nervous system begins to come back online. We can see and hear more clearly, we become better attuned again.
To find what you’re looking for, or hear the messages being sent to you, you really have to slow down and almost stop trying.
If you’ve been conditioned since childhood about the importance of hard work and persistent effort (as I have), this can feel counter-intuitive.
It’s a practice to surrender.
And yet that practice pays off nicely:
When you stop working so hard to find what you are looking for, you will realize that it was right in front of you the whole time.
All you have to do is step back and allow yourself to see it.