What Are We Missing?

by Lance Ekum on · 41 comments

Creative Commons License photo credit: atomicity

“We may run, walk, stumble, drive, or fly, but let us never lose sight of the reason for the journey, or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way.” ~ Gloria Gaither

On my way to and from work, I travel through a small village near us.  Just last week, I noticed, for the first time, that there is an historical marker just as you come into town.  I just noticed this, after living here and driving by this exact spot for the last ten years.

Ten years, and I never once noticed this.  Sure, I saw the buildings.  And I noticed the stream.  But I never noticed the signs indicating that this was an area of historical significance.  Ten years.  Driven by on a regular basis.  Why had I never noticed it?

We get caught up in what we’re doing, and don’t notice that which is around us.  Sometimes this is a landmark along the way to work.  But other times, it’s things like the relationships we have in our lives.  Things maybe we’ve been taking for granted.  Maybe it’s a shelter you walk by and never think about what goes on in there.  Maybe it’s a neighbor you’ve never really talked to, and just don’t think about in your daily busy-ness of life.

In the journey of life we’re on, let’s not lose sight of all the rainbows out there.  Some are out for us to see all the time, if we’ll just open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts to see them.

So, my challenge to you:  Make it a point this week to notice something that’s always been there.  Find something that you’ve been missing.  It’s out there, you just have to look for it.  Maybe this means looking at things differently.  Maybe it means slowing down and really looking around.  Maybe it means venturing out of your comfort zone.  Whatever it means for you, do it.  Find something new and be refreshed at discovering a rainbow that’s always been there.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny August 25, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Followed you from Life’s Little Inspirations!

I totally get this post! It is really amazing to take notice of something, even when it’s been there the whole time! I need to start looking to see what I haven’t noticed!

Jennys last blog post..Holy Macaroni!


Stacey / CreateaBalance August 26, 2008 at 12:16 am

My son challenges me to see new rainbows all the time. Today he asked me “how do we hear?” and “how is it possible for us to talk”. I realized this evening how much I take my hearing and my voice for granted. Fortunately we had my scientist husband at the dinner table to answer my son’s questions and to make me realize how fragile our lives really are. I have a new appreciation for the sound waves that hit my eardrums each and every day.

Stacey / CreateaBalances last blog post..The Power of Accountability


Evelyn Lim August 26, 2008 at 12:48 am

I like your challenge. I find it easy to miss out on the details because I’m always in a hurry. It’s nice to give myself a bit more space, take a slow walk and notice the tiny pink flower that peeks out along the pavement.

I enjoyed the quote that you shared too! Great one there!


Barbara Swafford August 26, 2008 at 1:39 am

Hi Lance,

This is a wonderful assignment. I agree, sometimes we’re so busy thinking about what we need to do, we miss out on what’s surrounding us on our current journey. A lot of beauty, history and love surrounds us. We just need to learn to slow down enough to see it.

Barbara Swaffords last blog post..NBOTW – Everyday Is Father’s Day


Dr. Cason August 26, 2008 at 5:42 am

Nice Lance man!

You’ve inspired me to write about the day we saw a double rainbow. The kids were floored and I was awed! They definitely didn’t let me miss that one!

Dr. Casons last blog post..Oh No! My Girl has Mrs X as her Teacher!


MizFit August 26, 2008 at 7:22 am

Im in and adore the challenge.
Im such a word person I at times BUMBLE THROUGH LIFE missing whats in front of me.

MizFits last blog post..Tuesday OUTTA THE BOX Testdrive.


Lanceman August 26, 2008 at 8:06 am

@Jenny – Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I think there is much out there we don’t notice, or just take for granted. And if we just take the time to really look around, there is so much for us to see and experience.

@Stacey/CreataBalance – Well, that’s a great point. Things like our hearing, or our voice – this is profound. And things we just take for granted. Children can be so wise sometimes, and I think it because they question so much. As we get older, our questioning just doesn’t happen as often – maybe we think we have all the answers – and in that we take things for granted. Without realizing what a great “rainbow” some of these things are. And, here’s to scientists!

@Evelyn – That’s right – we rush from place to place. And in so doing, we miss out on what’s in between. Sometimes that’s physically from point A to point B. At other times, it’s the rush we have going on in our minds.

@Barbara – If we can only slow down to see what we’re flying by. Learning this can be hard in today’s age of “now”. And, it the beauty, love, and history that makes life wonderful.

@Dr. Cason – That’s awesome, a double rainbow. It’s always neat to see a rainbow in the sky. And a double, it like double the fun. Kids are great at seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary – they are just full of wonder!

@MizFit – Excellent! At times, I think we all bumble through life – I know I do. And, I don’t even realize I’m bumbling away.


FitMom August 26, 2008 at 8:44 am

Out looking for something new. Will keep my eyes peeled. Seems like you and Miz were thinking similiar things today!

FitMoms last blog post..What makes a good race a GREAT one?


Writer Dad August 26, 2008 at 9:35 am

Our family’s made it a point to walk a lot this summer. We’ve only put gas in the car a single time. It’s amazing how different the world looks when you’re not passing it at thirty-five miles an hour or faster.

Writer Dads last blog post..Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?


Tom Volkar / Delightful Work August 26, 2008 at 10:54 am

I’m a big believer of smelling the roses. Sometimes for kicks I slow the car down until some hurried soul behind me blows the horn in frustration. I’m cleaning up my karma from all those days when I rushed around like a mad man. 🙂

Tom Volkar / Delightful Works last blog post..How to Honor Your Commitments


Jarrod - Warrior Development August 26, 2008 at 11:02 am

It is very true that we often miss the detail of the things we see.

It is even more true that we often only see the memory of what we have seen before.

When I meet my friend tomorrow is he the same person as when I met him today? No he is a new person in every moment.

Jarrod – Warrior Developments last blog post..Fear and the Pizza Man


Mark Salinas August 26, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Ok..I am in! I will pay close attention and see what I come up with. Very nice as always! 🙂

Mark Salinass last blog post..Wall Sit Challenge


Shamelessly Sassy August 26, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Recently, on a ride down a road that I’ve been driving down almost weekly my whole life, I discovered an old sign advertising an old restaurant from the 50’s. It was sitting back a bit in the woods, but it was still quite a surprise.

Shamelessly Sassys last blog post..Vocabulary Violation


Annette August 26, 2008 at 2:43 pm

I have found that when I walk alone, I notice so much more. When my kids are all talking and distracting me (love ’em, but need me time too), I miss ALOT. I have to remind myself to take in the beauty even when I feel like rushing. Thanks for reminding us 🙂

Annettes last blog post..HYC Update/Weigh In


Wendi Kelly-Life's Little Inspirations August 26, 2008 at 3:05 pm


Great idea, great post. ( I know, I know, we aren’t supposed to SAY that…but it was.)
Especially for us ADHD folks, we can’t hear that reminder enough. Sometimes I am just blowing through the day checking off the TO DO list, which I have to have, cause, well, I have ADHD, and so I miss everything right in front of my face.

I’m in for the experiment and will blog my observations!

Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirationss last blog post..Anniversary Stew


chris August 26, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Yes, I will try to slow down and see the little things, especially in my backyard.

chriss last blog post..Rock Bottom


Cath Lawson August 26, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Hi Lance – this is a great point. Sometimes we just go along on autopilot not really taking in a thing. I’ve started walking more recently and you notice a whole heap of stuff that you don’t even see when you’re driving. It’s scary really when we realise how little attention we’re actually paying./blog

Cath Lawsons last blog post..Blog Widgets And Other Great Stuff


Lanceman August 26, 2008 at 9:46 pm

@FitMom – All right! I’m sure you’ll find something new that’s always been there…

@Writer Dad – That’s impressive, one tank of gas. Good for you guys! You’re really getting a chance to look around and see what’s there.

@Tom Volkar – That’s funny, slowing down until they start honking at you. I guess they are noticing you, aren’t they?

@Jarrod – Well, that’s an excellent point. I’m not the same person today as I was yesterday. But how do we perceive people we know when we see them – usually as we’ve always perceived them. We keep our blinders on, and aren’t open to see them in their true light (which may be different from the last time).

@Mark – Good luck, I’m sure you’ll find something that’s always been there!

@Shamelessy Sassy – There you go! Excellent find! Sometimes we drive the same road and miss things that have been there for years.

@Annette – Yes, kids, as much as we love ’em, can sure be a distraction! A walk is a great way to notice the things around us.

@Wendi Kelly – Looking forward to you observations! And, we all miss things that are right in front of our face – you’re not alone there!

@Chris – The backyard, so close to home – and yet I’m sure there’s something there too. I’ll have to check ours as well, it’s right outside my door…

@Cath – Yep, autopilot is a good way to describe it. We thinking only of point A and point B, but nothing in between.


Bobbi August 26, 2008 at 10:32 pm

love the post. Yes I know that I too can get caught up in my little world and it’s so nice these taking the bus and seeing new and different faces. Just today I saw a women helping a complete stranger and it opened my eyes to the beauty of people instead of the ugly that often is displayed to us on TV. I dont want to miss out on Gods beauty around us, thanks for reminding me of that!

Bobbis last blog post..O blessed TOE!


Lanceman August 27, 2008 at 4:47 am

Bobbi – Thanks! Seeing the beauty in another person, that’s a wonderful observation. More important than the historical marker I’d missed. I think that beauty is in everyone, sometimes we just have to look deeper to find it. And look beyond our pre-conceived notions. So, thank you, Bobbi, for reminding me of that.


Kelly@SHE-POWER August 27, 2008 at 8:55 am

Inspiring post, lance. I think a lot of marriages break up for the very reason that people stop noticing each other. I tend to be day dreamer and a terrible multi tasker so I am bad for noticing things except for people. As a writer I really do watch people for characters in my stories, but everything else, nope.

My son pointed out that our neighbours have a new car last week. I found it so funny the things a 4 year old will notcie, but I think he has the right idea. He’s there in the moment and yes, even the neighbour’s car is worthy of attention.



Bamboo Forest August 27, 2008 at 11:46 am

So many rainbows out there that we miss. I really like this presentation.

Even walking by a patch of roses unnoticed is a huge rainbow that we are too busy to enjoy.

Good words, thanks for sharing.

Bamboo Forests last blog post..Wikipedia: The Holy Grail


Vered August 27, 2008 at 12:20 pm

This is one of the best things about having kids. As Dr. Cason said, there’s no way they are going to let me miss that rainbow, or that white butterfly, or a new flower in our garden.

Vereds last blog post..Aging: May I Please Get Off This Path Now?


Lanceman August 27, 2008 at 4:16 pm

@Kelly – That’s a great point about marriages. We don’t notice the “new” in each day, and that’s what keeps a marriage alive and healthy. And kids, really have a sense for wonder, which makes them great at noticing the new. We lose some of that, I think, as we get older. And that’s too bad.

@Bamboo Forest – Yes, there are lots of “rainbows”, and we just go right on by them. We’re missing out, and don’t even realize it.

@Vered – Right, kids have a natural curiosity about them, and that makes them great at seeing the new. We can learn much from the children of the world.


Urban Panther August 27, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Okay, this made me chuckle. I had been driving from my apartment to the Lion’s everyday for several months. One day, we were in the car, and I said to the Lion, when did that statue of Jesus get put there? The Lion looked at me in surprise and told me that it’s always been there. Okay, we are talking the whole cross with a white marble life size Jesus. I mean, I know I’m not Christian, but come on Panther!

Urban Panthers last blog post..A sacred space


Marelisa August 27, 2008 at 4:38 pm

This is a great exercise. I do something similar when I watch my Harry Potter DVD’s (yes I’m a die-hard Harry Potter fan): every time I watch one of the movies I have to notice something that I didn’t notice the last time. It’s a lot of fun 🙂

Marelisas last blog post..30 Ways to Increase Your Creativity


meleah rebeccah August 27, 2008 at 7:31 pm

I really need to slow down and take a look. I am always rushing around, on the go, in a hurry, I know I am missing out on a lot of things that are right in front of my face.

Thanks for the reminder!!!

meleah rebeccahs last blog post..My Writing Buddies


Lanceman August 27, 2008 at 9:06 pm

@Urban Panther – Sometimes the things we miss are life-size, and other times they’re small. Sounds like you “found” a life-size example of this.

@Marelisa – Hey, we (well, mostly my wife and older son) are Potter fans as well! Movies are a great example. It seems like whenever you watch one a second time, you inevitably see something you didn’t the first time.

@Meleah – I tend to rush around too, it seems. Especially with kids, and we’re always running somewhere. But when we get the chance to slow down, and really look, there is much to see.


John Rocheleau - Zen-moments August 27, 2008 at 9:36 pm

what you say is so true. Viewing life through the template of habit and preconceptions causes us to miss out on so much. Remove the template from our vision and a whole new world opens up 🙂

Your challenge is a worthy one.


John Rocheleau – Zen-momentss last blog post..A Youthful Advantage


Andy August 27, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Just short of a year ago I quit smoking and started running. Since then I have discovered so many things in my neighborhood that I never noticed before while driving by them in my car! Just the other day I noticed that 3 houses down from me the family has a characture picture of them airbrushed on their mail box. It is hilarious! Just like you said, I had drove by that hundreds or even thousands of times and never saw it.


Robin August 28, 2008 at 1:49 am

Hi Lance – that’s really funny that you didn’t notice the historical marker!

When Frank and I are walking around I often say I haven’t seen something before and he says it has been there for a while – and I notice things he doesn’t see (funny how he always remembers the trucks and cranes)

I think I’ll try to notice a quality I might have, that I might have been overlooking – Cheers!

Robins last blog post..On Overcoming Obstacles


Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome August 28, 2008 at 3:52 am

When I started university at the University of Toronto, my dad was a professor there and he told me that when he would walk across campus, he would pretend he was a tourist and look up at the buildings instead of just getting to his destination.

Since there (20 years now), I’ve tried to practice being a tourist in my own city. Having just recently moved to San Sebastian in Spain, I’m constantly surprised at how much more I know about the terrain of the city than people who’ve lived here their whole lives.

Alex Fayle | Someday Syndromes last blog post..Are you a Pooh-Bear?


Lanceman August 28, 2008 at 7:08 am

@John – Yes, that’s exactly it! A template is a great way to look at this, I like it. If we can remove the template, we can see things differently.

@Andy – First off, great job on both quitting smoking and starting to run – two great improvements for your overall health! And a great example of seeing something we’ve missed so many times. Like John said, we remove the template (in this case, the car) and we see things differently. Awesome observation!

@Robin – I like that angle, how when we’re with someone else – they may see things that we don’t see. Sometimes that’s the uniqueness of simple things (like the smell of freshly cut grass) and other times it’s more obvious things (like the cranes). It goes to show that we all have different lenses we look through, and each of us see things a little differently.

@Alex – Excellent point – if we act more like a tourist in our own locale, we will see things differently. I thought about that recently when we were on vacation, and how much I was taking things in at this new place. And when I’m back home, I don’t do that. So, that’s a great practice to get into – and a great way to really “know” the area you’re at.


Ariel - We Are All One August 31, 2008 at 2:53 am

Great challenge Lance! What an awesome way to help guide people out of their mental words and into this beautiful world that exists all around us. 🙂

Ariel – We Are All Ones last blog post..Adyashanti – The End of Your World


CG Walters September 2, 2008 at 5:13 am

…ahhh, but our awareness is an ever-progressing horizon. With each step forward, we obtain a vantage point to see what we could not have the moment before.
The good news is that all can forever be something new to see and feel, if we so desire–and so find the moment to relax and allow it.
peace and wonder,

CG Walterss last blog post..Celebrate What’s Right in the World


Lanceman September 2, 2008 at 9:58 pm

@Ariel – Thanks! Sometimes I think we miss the obvious, just because it’s always been there, and we’re not looking for “it”.

@CG – Well, that’s an excellent point. We are an ever-progressing being. And the idea of seeing everything in newness is a powerful one. One in which we really observe our surroundings.


rarestone September 6, 2008 at 8:31 am

Great post Lance! Of course we never ever have time to see some things in life because our minds are too busy thinking about the past or the future. In a sense we are never here, never enjoy now, but constantly pushing to get ‘there’. But where is ‘there’, are we ever going to get ‘there’? I would say come back here, and begin to see the beauty of now, observing every little detail…


scheng1 March 2, 2010 at 8:45 am

Hardly surprising. Sometimes I dont even notice what are the things in my bedroom.
.-= scheng1´s Last Fabulous Post ..What are the benefits of quitting smoking? =-.


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