Treasure Finding

Before throwing clothes into the washing machine, I usually do a quick check in the pockets to remove forgotten odds and ends. Yesterday, in the pocket of Ella’s yellow sweater, I found a rock, a stick, a marble, two leaves and a penny.

As I held the pocket findings in my hand, Ella came into the laundry room. “Oh good!” she said, standing on her toes and carefully taking each one from my hand. “You found my treasures.”

She arranged each of the objects on her palm, then pointed to each one and told me what she found so interesting about them.

The stick looked like a person dancing. There was a wider part that she pointed out as the head. The stick branched toward the middle and again toward the bottom and created what looked like two arms and legs. The limbs were slightly bent, making it look like the figure was in the middle of the “twist” dance move. 

The dark rock was shaped like a long heart. It glimmered with tiny specks of gold that you could see when you moved it from side to side.

The marble had three air bubbles that looked like a smiling face floating in the center of the glass. 

The two leaves had begun to decompose, so only the intricate jumble of tiny veins was left, creating what looked like a delicate spider web.

The penny was from 2011 – the year Ella was born.

When we see things as novel, we attend to them more. The magic of discovery and curiosity can happen naturally, but we can also do this more intentionally, even in things otherwise familiar. There is a good reason to look at things this way – getting in the habit of noticing details helps improve your memory. 

So, have a look at some rocks and leaves and sticks and marbles and pennies. It is surprising how many new, interesting details you can find when you notice. And it goes both ways – when you look carefully, these everyday objects start looking a lot more new and interesting, too.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.