“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
How many times has this happen to each of us? No matter how many times we look at a situation… or a neighborhood… or a relationship… or a favorite book we will see something that we feel that we have never seen before.
A patient was sitting on the end of the examining table in a surgeon’s office; where they wondered what is going to happen next. A few months earlier, they had survived a major surgery that eradicated a cancerous growth.
Now as the patient was sitting in the office, they reflect about the subsequent procedures that they had to go through in the past few months. The body was slowing and effectively losing weight… denying them of a life that they had known before… while their re-occurring infections had become a way of life. No one really knows how to move while living a life that is always in question. Their body betraying them over and over. Yet the surgeon said that there wasn’t a serious infection. How can this be the patient thinks to themselves? How can it be that the weekly packing of wounds is nothing more than a minor event?
We look at life differently at different stages of our lives. We come into our adolescence with a reckless abandon. We are no longer “young children” with limitations. We are now teenagers with developing dreams. We begin the pilgrimage of discovery.
We get our first job and there is a sense of accomplishments when we receive that first paycheck. We head out to spend it because now we have freedom to choose what we want to buy because after all it is our money.
We fall in love. We dream of a life with another person for perhaps the first time. We wonder what life will be like and what kind of home we will have together. We see them in our thoughts and carry them in our hearts.
We hold our first born. We wonder if we will be the best parent. We wonder if people will write books about our parenting skills or maybe we will do parenting seminars on how amazing we were as the mentors and guides in this brand new life.
We lose the first person that we ever felt close to. We may have lost them through a variety of circumstances. They may have left because of divorce… or separation… or an illness…. or perhaps even through death. The pain is too great to carry.
We write our first blog or article. We wonder if anyone will read it. We wonder if anyone will laugh at the humor in it or be provoked to reflect on an inner aspect that had been hidden away.
We get the difficult news that we have cancer. No one wants to hear the “C” word. It is almost as if people will look at you with some level of pity; while all the while they are thinking that you are going to die.
Life is about discoveries. We can sit on our comfy couch and watch Netflix or the Discovery Channel thinking that we are becoming enlighten. Or we can get out of the four walls that we call a home and immerse ourselves into life itself. Life is more than just walking, sleeping, eating, crapping, pissing, and/or dreaming of something better. Dreaming without action is nothing more than a fantasy. It is when we engage and act upon those dreams that it actually becomes life… moments of reality.
Rollo May writes, “…keep in mind that being is a participle, a verb form implying that someone is in the process…” (1983, p. 97) Nature by its very own essence is in a state of process. We celebrate seasons of change because the earth is constantly evolving. It is when we stop discovering something new is when we are in danger of not living or at least not living in a dynamic way. This is a beautiful life that we have the opportunity to live. I am reminded that a rabbi once said that we all have a phenomenal gift and it is when we do not exercise that gift will the world become a poorer place.
We will come face to face with chances to learn something new about ourselves, others, or the world in which we live in. We will encounter the uncertainty of the next moment. It is an inevitable event. So…
What will we do with it?
What will we need to do so that we discover more deeply the person that we truly are meant and desire become?
What is the one thing that we have conveniently ignored?
I pulled my car over the other day and walked around a neighborhood that I had driven through many times. I soon noticed yards… porches… backyards… people in ways that I had never seen them before. It was not that the landscape had changed but what changed was my own perspective. Maybe, like the surgeon, we need to stop looking at the malady with the same perception as we had been looking at it for the past few months or years. Maybe we need to not get upset with the person who almost ran us over as we crossed the intersection while we were jogging. Perhaps, we need to stop and try to tell the other person’s story with the emotions and vision that they have about the subject; so, that we can have a better dialogue instead of an argument.
Life is not a static adventure. It is an organic movement that demands our interaction for us to fully be present.