As I loaded groceries into my car today, I found myself singing “God Bless America” to myself. I thought, gee that’s funny, how did that get in my head? I’m used to the latest pop song playing in my head from my daughter playing the latest craze music; I’m used to nursery rhymes reeling through from the songs I play for my younger children. But “God Bless America”? I haven’t heard that in a while. Hmm…
Having finished loading the groceries, I got in the car, started it up, backed out of my spot, looked around to make sure I wasn’t hitting anything and as I turned to one side, I caught sight of a bumper sticker on a car parked two spots away from mine and which I had passed on the way to my car. Lo and behold: the bumper sticker was red, white and blue and had the words “God Bless America”. Wow. Talk about an Aha! moment.
There is a concept called “thin slicing”, discussed in the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, where you take in all kinds of information without even realizing it. That’s what happened. I never even realized I saw and took in the image and message of the bumper sticker. It immediately associated with the song I knew, and before I knew it I was singing it in my head. That was a powerful moment.
I already knew it, but this was so tangible that it was hard not to process the the power of what is all around us, small or big, and how much that affects us: negative or positive.
I talk about clutter a lot. A friend and I discussed once how clutter is an “energy sapper”. Even a frame that is set crooked affects me until I straighten it. What about all the “frames” I can’t straighten? How do they affect me or you or anyone else? I can get bigger here, like how not having beautiful things around you can make you grumpy–I mean even just nature. A garden versus concrete.
But I can also talk small. Like a negative comment, or a dig that someone gives. Or positive. Like when someone else straightened the frame and I don’t notice it anymore because now it’s straight. And it makes my day better without knowing it.
I also considered the effect of advertising and propaganda, good or bad. It’s so pervasive and sometimes not even that obvious. It’s only noticed in passing: an ad on a bus or a taxi, a quick commercial you’re not even watching.
What do you know that affects you, negative or positive? Have you experienced a powerful connection like this one? Or not know where something came from, but you know it had to come from somewhere? What do you think of what we take in around us without even knowing? Please share.