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Recognizing Inattentional Blindness: What is it and how can it help us be more mindful?

Inattentional blindness occurs when one does not see an object right in front of them. I recently experienced this phenomenon when we lost a library book. I could not find it anywhere! I checked the kids’ back packs, bedrooms, and basement. It seemed to have just disappeared. However, a few days later, I found it right on top of my counter! It was just under my nose the entire time.

This happens to us all. Our visual field consists of blind spots we do not notice because the brain filters them. Have you ever looked for a can in the pantry and discovered it is within reach? Our eyes can only focus on so much at once for the mind to interpret all that is seen.

This can also apply to what one chooses to think about. Our thoughts can be like a visual overload comparable to looking for something in the house. It is easy to miss what is right in front of us when we have mental blinders on. Our kids’ playfulness or even potential friendships. Sometimes it is easy to ruminate about what went wrong in the past instead of what is right here in the present.

David Steindl-Rast states we feel “grateful” when there is the combination of a gift deemed subjectively valuable and it is given without the expectation of anything in its return. He also points out similarly, we can live with feelings of gratitude moment by moment. This is because, in essence, each moment we have is a gift. We did not do anything to receive this bit of time nor do we have control of the next moment.

The present is in fact right under our noses all the time. I like to remind myself of a quote by Gretchen Rubin: The days are long but the years are short. There are 3,652 days in 10 years. This is about 1.5 big bags of candies. Similarly, 3,652 days are long, but 10 years is short. I try to remind myself to savor the moment: the colors and feelings. Let us remove our blind spots to the present because another 3,652 days will soon be an instant.

Thanks for taking the time to read! To Mom is To Love mission is to support, encourage, and empower each other as imperfect moms to love as a verb. Subscribe for the latest updates on To Mom is To Love podcasts and writing.



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