Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The bowl, the fish INSIDE the bowl... or the CAT!?

What a beautiful day... The afternoon sun is busy setting, but I’ve still found a very sunny spot from which to have a good look and admire its beauty.

When I turn to one side I get a whiff of someone’s aftershave or deodorant that is not complimenting my Latte very well... When I turn to another you smell the most divine aromas from the kitchen... Pizza, I believe...

Change is in the air. The schools closed today – most of them anyway – there is an excitement for the new found liberty in the air; parents for not having to plan their day according to the kids’ school schedules or extracurricular activities, and kids for not being confined to the limiting space of the classroom for a few weeks... aaaaah... FREEDOM! That, and the World Cup Soccer fever, of course :)

That is the only thing that I envy teachers for: their frequent and long annual holidays. I wish I could have one just about now. Oh well, one can always have a holiday in your mind; sometimes for merely making small changes in the way you think, the things you notice around you (observing) and the sounds and smells that you notice if you just take a moment to be in the moment.

I went shopping yesterday for a few basic grocery items for the house. I was rather hungry wondering through the aisles. I impulsively decided to grab a packet of crisps. I had a deliberate craving for something savory / beefy. I was looking for something specific and couldn’t see it at a glance. It cost me scrutinizing the shelves, looking at each and every product in order to find the one I was looking for. I realized something... There were so many items that I have never seen or heard of before. Not for it not being on the shelves all along, but just for not looking, not taking note. I had no idea that it existed, let alone what it tastes like, what you would use it for, or what it cost (until yesterday anyway). The only thing I was able to figure out with regard to it was the price – the label on the shelve...

I’m sure most of you have been trained on a new job or responsibility of some sort before. It’s all new to you and you have to listen very attentively. You’re tuned in differently than when you’ve been doing it for so long that you can do so with your eyes closed. In your mind questions start to rise, “why do it this way?” or “why at this time, and not that?” Maybe it doesn’t quite make sense, or you immediately identify a method that could achieve the same result, but maybe faster or more efficiently. In asking the big “WHY”, the response goes something like this, “I don’t know; that’s how we’ve always done it”, or “I don’t know; this is how I was trained when I first started doing it”.

Not much of a meaningful answer to my mind, always seeking to understand the “why?”. How do you do anything meaningful (or excellently for that matter) if you’re merely going through the motions like a puppet, parroting whatever someone else taught you, without any understanding / insight? What this answer does indicate for me though, is that very little thought (if any) has gone into this process.

Sometimes we just go through the motions of life as well. We fall into the rut of whatever we’re doing, eventually losing sight of why we do it that way or how it came about that we started doing it that way, or even doing it in the first place. We lose our ability to think innovatively; to think and be creative in our approach. We lose the adventure and we start merely existing. We start “flying on auto pilot”, so to speak.

You buy items in the shop that you’ve always bought just because you’ve always bought it. Your mind is no more perceptive to new ideas, new adventures, new tastes and flavors...

You mingle with the same group of friends because you’ve been friends since kinder garden. You don’t really connect meaningfully and you might not even hear the conversations anymore, but you just notice the lips moving... thinking that you’ve heard this before, you’re sure...

You go the same holiday destination every year because you’ve been going there for years; your dad used to take the family there, and his dad before him...
You eat at the same restaurant every time because you know the menu, and you always order the same favourite dish...

But what if...?

What if we deliberately start to open our mind to new ideas and new experiences? What if we start trying a different restaurant occasionally, or read a different kind of book / magazine to what you usually read? What if you open your mind to meeting new people and learning a few new things from them? What if you dare to try a new recipe in your cook book that you’ve always just paged past? What if you ride the different route with your bike or just lie in bed in morning for five minutes deliberately listening to the morning song of the birds, welcoming the day? What if YOU make the morning coffee for a change and you notice the sunshine through the window; you never knew it was THAT beautiful? What if...?

I’m hungry for new experiences! I’m hungry for new friends (not discarding the old ones; there is most certainly a measure of comfort in the familiarity of those that have travelled with you through good and bad times), but every now and again you need a fresh challenge; some fresh ideas and perspectives; some new jokes to laugh about and to tell to your old friends at the next braai / BBQ (...a tradition you’ve had for years...) haha ;) Every now and again you need a new song to dance to.

I’m hungry to see things around me through new eyes and to think crisp, new thoughts. I want to think out of the box and I want to have new adventures. I want to have a fresh perspective on my surroundings and the way I do things and why.

I’m not talking about re-inventing the wheel... just tweaking the spokes a bit... make it interesting again... Add something small, change the colours a bit. Look people in the eye when you get into an elevator, instead of staring at the numbers. Notice the color of someone’s bag, someone’s tie, or the color of their eyes. REALLY listen when someone speaks, and ask questions “why?”. Travel and see new scenery (even if only through the eyes of others). Try a new restaurant – apparently not all coffee tastes the same – haha... call the waiter by name... Maybe even complain if you didn’t like the service instead of going home miserable and taking it out on your family or the dog.What if you found a new (and maybe even better) route to work, or maybe next time you are stuck in rush hour traffic, look around and notice something that you drive past every day, yet have never noticed before.

If someone suggests a better way of doing something, at least think about it... you might learn something new... or share again why you do it the way you do... maybe it reminds you and teaches THEM something new...

Hell! You never know, but at least open your mind to the possibilities... You can have the greatest adventure right where you’re at!

IF not? WHY not?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great perspective, wonderful attitude and well put. A passage to live by.

Hit's very close to home, well understood & lived for 20 years!

Thanks for another wonderful post

G.

Clarinda said...

People are creatures of habit and tradition, and the bible cleary states that the only thing that can void God's word, is tradition ... I'm glad you've put this post up ... God is always new and fresh, although His character of love is always the same, He is creative and very much "out of the box", so we as people, who are created in His image have the same capacity ... and when we use it, we'll be surprised at just how fulfilling life can be ... Love this blog Lee ... keep up the good work :)

Liane de Witt said...

Thank you for visiting me, G :) Love that you're reading me.

"creatures of habit"... well said, Clarinda. For that reason we fall into that rut so easily... usually without evening realizing it. By grace we become aware of that every now and again (little "wake up calls", if you may). Very grateful for those light bulb moments indeed. Please keep sharing your thoughts :)