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Watch Out For The Gems

May 28, 2015

Birds Of Australia Print by Inaluxemore details here


Have you ever noticed that the best stuff (online and off) is often tucked away, not easily noticed?

Perhaps it’s one sentence in a TED talk that keeps ricocheting around your head? Maybe it’s one line in a bunch of quoted text that made so much sense to you and the things you are thinking about right now that it hits you right in the heart? A heartfelt post on a little-known blog that mirrored how you feel and even when you feel it?  It could be a description, a few words about somewhere or something, threaded together in a way that took you somewhere you’ve once been? Perhaps it’s a link to something that is the very thing you needed to hear right now? Special stuff that seems to be talking to you? Thank goodness. Me too. Phew. Don’t you love these ‘gems’?

These little clues. These gems. I’m all about them. I love spotting them, excavating them, pulling them out into the light of day, polishing them, seeing how they shine up and sharing them with the people I like.

It’s really satisfying to make the time to find these gems. You need to train your eyes/brain to slow down and seek them out. It’s kind of like when Ari was little and he told me – as we entered the Salvation Army Thrift Store – that he had his ‘op shop eyes’ on. He then scanned his eyes from side to side quickly to illustrate. Spotting the kinds of wordy gems you find interesting or inspiring or comforting or challenging involves a similar skill (but hopefully less dart-y eyes.)

Rarely is our favourite kind of interesting fodder piping up loudly saying ‘Here’s a special thing that’s the kind of thing you most like to read/know about!’ Rarely. More often than not it’s quietly stowed about the place, in plain sight, but without too many bells and whistles to get your attention. Other noisy, shiny, spangly stuff goes whizzing by, as a lot of the good stuff sits quietly, probably sipping brandy, waiting for the haze to clear.

It’s good to start looking quite close to ‘home’. Often, the people in your own circle have great tips and gems to share, in passing, on their blogs or social media streams. The people you admire most might make little mentions of the kind of stuff you’re into as they write about their day. Sometimes the best gems are hiding within a bigger gem, even.

This week for instance:

Dani Shapiro told me about this podcast and the new-to-me idea of metta this morning within a great post she wrote about writing.
Yesterday, I told you about that great NY Times password article and a nice soup in a babble about road rage.

Or the gems could be a bit more easy to see:
Patrick pointed me to this article via his Twitter account.

Or maybe they’re hiding in plain sight?
Kelly wrote about ‘the courage moment’ in the comments over here.

They’re lurking in different places, but the fact remains… GEMS.

It’s good to keep a lookout for your version of gems like these, as you adventure through your day. Look for the seemingly little clues, things that aren’t getting a lot of attention and aren’t spangly and overt. Those low-key leads can take you places you might never see. Those seemingly little things are full of possibility. They’ll often lead you down the garden path (in a good way!) and show you who you really are. It’s like those gems KNOW YOU.

Explore the links or comments within the posts you read, instead of just skimming the piece trying to ‘finish it’. Slow things down. Dig in a bit and see what ace, meaningful morsels await. It’s often those small ‘incidental’ shares, almost-missed details or chatty asides that can have the biggest impact. That’s not to say that you should read EVERYTHING, but you could definitely aim to read LESS and read DEEPER. Perhaps?!

Look out for the small, sneaky stuff that might usually pass you by. Chip away at those big chunks of text to find the bits that really speak to you and make your life make more sense. Go back over stuff instead of being quick to click away. Listen for the language that feels like YOUR language, take note of it – follow the trail it leads you on.

And when you read that thing that interests or speaks DEARLY to you, enjoy that feeling – part affirmation that you fit into this weird world and you’re on the right path, and part confirmation that you’re a gem too.

Watch out for the gems!

Do you spot these gems and clues when you are tooling about online? The not-always-obvious things that seem to be just perfect for you? Does it feel like a bit of a slam dunk when you do?

pip signature


How about..?
Reading one substantial online article each day – with a cup of tea and a biscuit – and no skimming over paragraphs. Make some notes if anything jumps out at you. Pursue the ideas those notes provided.


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Why Slowing Down Is The New Speeding Up
Have Your Pie And Eat It Too!
Make Some Nice Curry

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  • Reply Sarina May 17, 2016 at 8:06 AM

    Thank you! I’ve subscribed to Kerri’s blog because of this – you are a gem 🙂

  • Reply Kate June 5, 2015 at 7:14 PM

    I love a good gem. Yes. I. Do.

  • Reply Karen May 29, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    Hi Pip,
    It’s the little gems that uplift or inspire me (usually both) and give me a fresh perspective on things. Those little gems can make me feel like I’m not the only one thinking or feeling a certain way about something. Sometimes the little gems bring a smile to my face and put a little spring in my step. The serendipitous moments.

  • Reply Sherry S May 29, 2015 at 5:29 AM

    The link to Kelly, Kerri’s “resilience” blog, and its comments are my gems for the day! I especially loved your quote, Pip, from your grandfather’s writings. (Will you tell us more about him?) I have late-stage ovarian cancer, my husband has just had open-heart surgery, and in recent weeks we have been in real need of every drop of resiliency we can muster. The bee metaphor resonates–in so many ways, we have been living off of the honey of happier seasons–and it has been keeping us nourished and strong. Thanks for sharing a gem!

  • Reply Jennifer May 29, 2015 at 1:17 AM

    I totally agree with you. I think the lesser-known blogs are often the very best ones. When I land on one that I fall in love with, I want to keep it a secret just for me. I loved Dani’s blog post too; I was glad to see that you also enjoy her blog. I’ve been a fan of her work for a long time.

  • Reply Helen May 28, 2015 at 11:48 PM

    I’m so with you on this idea, Pip….I totally find myself sifting for gems, scanning for the bits that’ll resonate and throwing away, on to the breeze, the rest that doesn’t float my boat. I wonder if this is where we’ll evolve, digital sifters….bombarded with million pieces of information every moment, we learn, as a species, to hone in on what’s useful – guiding? – to us and learn to live with leaving the rest…….I’ve been trying to voice a post about this for a while now and was so pleased to see you voicing it all so wonderfully today! Thank you! [Your site is one I definitely come to for my gem sifting :)]

  • Reply lisa west May 28, 2015 at 5:44 PM

    Pip I am so with you on your ‘Watch out for the gems’. It’s like this unconscious sifting thing I do. Those things that particularly speak to me or have a message for me or whatever stick in my sieve and whammo! I see my little gem. The one I have been looking for.x

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