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Expand Your Umwelt (And Feel Good Now)

We were driving on a highway in the rain. My companion said “The weather is clearing!” I was thinking “What are you talking about?”. Rain pummeled the windshield and dark clouds hung over the road ahead. My companion pointed toward the passenger window and said, “Over there.” Indeed. There was bright blue sky to the west.

In the early 20th century, scientists understood that different animals in the same ecosystem recognize different signals in their environment. For example, humans detect light in the visible spectrum while honeybees see ultraviolet radiation and snakes sense infrared. Even though humans, honeybees and snakes are taking in the same thing (electromagnetic radiation) they detect only a small range. A German biologist introduced the concept of ‘umwelt’ – the part of the world that an animal sees.

Our umwelt is not just physical, it includes how we think and feel. It is everything that we recognize as our world. Because umwelt is made up of what we are aware of, we often accept our umwelt as complete and don’t stop to consider that more is out there.

What does your umwelt look like?

Is it stressed over to-dos and must-haves that try to rule your life?

Or is it barreling into the future – worrying about what-ifs? – or leapfrogging into the past – obsessing over details that happened 10 minutes or 10 years ago?

Is it so focused on others that you forget your own needs?

Or is it feeling a little muddled and confused?

We get trapped on our hamster wheels of habit without noticing how narrow our umwelt becomes. But there is more. There is always more when we step off the hamster wheel and expand what we see and perceive. (Blue sky to the west!)

I’ve been playing with ways to do this and I want to share them with you. They are simple and don’t require anything more than your attention.

I’ve put together my four favorite tools and I invite you to play with them too. Give them a try and feel what is like to shift and broaden your umwelt.

You can get them here: Four Fast Ways to Feel Good NOW

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