Another month joins the annals of history. Goodbye September 2016. Doesn’t it seem that I was just asking if you were up for a challenge during September? I don’t want to be one of those people who say, “Where did September go?” OR “How can it already be November?” (See how I did that? See how we have already lost October). Sure, time passes and it catches us off guard.

But does it have to?


This sense of wondering where time has gone is a symptom, I’ve decided. A symptom of auto-pilot living. At the end of “The 30 day challenge to fight teflon brain and win” I had 5 aha moments.

1. Being #DistractedByBeauty for 15 seconds a day builds in bite-sized reflection.

When have we been programed to reflect? In chunks that are FAR TOO LARGE to seep into the pores of daily life. We reflect at the beginning of a year, setting goals or resolutions. We reflect at the end of something large, be it a project or degree completed.

By looking every day for something positive to help foster velcro in my mind, I built reflection into pieces that I could actually chew and digest. World peace? Life goals? Too big. Do I appreciate the amazing adults who are investing in my niece’s lives? You betcha. Can I savor the positive aspects of a society that values public libraries? I can.

2. My notion of beauty needs to be expanded.

As I looked each day for something beautiful to reflect on, my initial default was nature. A flower, changing leaves, or clouds in the sky. Are they beautiful? Of course they are. But I can see how my notion of beauty is so narrow I miss on beauty tucked into ordinary life.

A friend posted a picture of her legs, noting that they were strong and carried her. Legs! Most of us have them. Beauty attached to our very bodies. I wrote about traffic. Do you tend to think of traffic as beautiful?

Ask yourself why not.

3. I underestimated the variety of brain-savoring that is possible.

Today I went back through my Instagram feed to see what I commented on this month (another form of reflection, it turns out). Look at all that was savored:

  • A memorial service of a 15-year-old boy
  • Conversation with my niece
  • A broken sprinkler
  • Time with family
  • Poor sleep and prayer for peace
  • The beauty in traffic
  • The Denver Broncos
  • Reminder of the need for breaks
  • The joy of completing a large project
  • What I like about the library
  • The idea of living out their values
  • The joy of flowers
  • Being proud of your home town
  • Dental care and scheduling errors
  • The death of a dear friend
  • Aspens
  • Reflecting on friends
  • Books

Can you seen patterns? Yes, and I stayed a little close to my comfort zones: family, football, nature. But every now and then I’d wander into territory I hadn’t thought of before.

Just think of the unexplored areas hidden right under my nose. Just think of the possibilities :)!

5. We need this discipline before we need it.

It is not lost on me that the month started off with a post about death and the last week has been devoted to the death of my dear friend Mike Packevicz. Would I have chosen to invite you all into a challenge about beauty in a month of significant loss? No. I would have waited for a “more suitable time.”

But this a-ha moment is that there will never be a “suitable time” because our brains are so teflony to the positive. The negative sticks without even trying. It is an effort in the midst of the slog of life to note the positive.

As I was traveling, I found myself looking for positive things to note. A kind seat mate. A crew member making a joke. A text that reminded me I wasn’t alone in my long travel day. Again and again, when I looked to be #DistractedByBeauty, I was.


Can you fight teflon brain and win?

You can.

The victories will be small. They may seem too inconsequential to matter. But how to you change the trajectory of an arrow? A few degrees of change will have that arrow land in a different place (#DistractedByMath?).

15 seconds a day of savoring leads to a life time of savoring.

What did you notice this month as you were #DistractedByBeauty?

Leave A Comment

  1. Jody Collins September 30, 2016 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Amy, the best part of this (non)challenge (because I was all like, ‘yeah!’) was that it was DOABLE. As you said, reflection is often attached to BIG things, at the end of a project, at the beginning of a year, at the beginning of a (married, newborn) life. Too infrequent.
    Slowing down for 30 seconds or less each DAY builds beauty over time AND a brain change. That I can do.
    I so appreciate the way you see the world; thank you for sharing it with us.

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