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?
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.