Playing the “Alert” Card.
I wanted to do a series that embraced all 20 cards from Moodscope (www.moodscope.com). Today, it’s the turn of the “Alert” card, which Moodscope defines as, “being quick to notice and act.” This is an ‘animal’ trait to me, reminding me fondly of the dogs and cats I’ve known. Beloved pets often appear to be resting contentedly, but their ear movements give them away – they always score the maximum possible, a 3, on this card because they are ever quick to notice and then leap into activity. This is especially true if there is food or attention available.
Being alert is dominantly an external phenomenon – it’s an awareness of the opportunities and threats in our environment. As such here is a fascinating exercise you can do. Take the index fingers of both hands and wiggle them in front of your eyes. Keep staring straight ahead while you move your arms apart horizontally and so test the width of your vision. You are testing your visual awareness of movement not sharp focus. Now do a similar exercise but take one hand up above your head and the other down towards your waist vertically. What you should notice is that you can see more in one dimension. (No spoilers here – you’ll have to try it for yourself.)
Now that you have an idea of the scope of your visual awareness, put your hands by your side and just look straight ahead. Without moving your eyes, check out the height, depth and breadth of your visual awareness. What can you see now that you hadn’t been consciously aware of before? Keeping that vision, switch to your peripheral awareness of sound. What can you hear now that you hadn’t been consciously aware of before? Where is the sound coming from? You can, of course, continue through the 5 senses but seeing and hearing are often enough to pull you back into the ‘now’ sufficiently to sharpen the level of your alertness.
If I do this rapidly (and privately) in company, I’ll usually pick up on some cue that someone is giving off – perhaps a tell-tale cluster of body gestures or an interesting tone. The second part is then to act on what I’ve noticed – this is being alert! Of course, we can learn from our pets, who do this best at feeding times and when there is a chance to get some attention. So next time you’re in a social eating context, expand your altertness, pick up someone’s signals, and give them some extra special attention. Animals aren’t the only one’s that respond well to stroking.