I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to get back “out there”, any place where I am forced to notice the subtleties in my surroundings. It’s so easy to sleepwalk through our daily existence, where everything we know is familiar and predictable.
Foreign travel gets me to my own “out there”. Maybe for you it’s reading, or hiking, creating art or music, or volunteering in a charity setting that is far from your own experience. No matter the venue, getting out there takes some effort, especially when it’s so easy to just curl up with a laptop or tablet, much the same as the previous generation lost their sense of personal adventure to television watching.
In any case, I’d encourage you to find your own “out there” and make time to visit it with devoted regularity. The insights we gain from moments spent at the margins of our experiences expand our character, transform our relationships, and will be our most precious “rocking chair memories”.
(That’s a term a nursing home patient once used when my husband, Dr. Chuck, asked her what she was doing one afternoon. She said, “Just going through my rock’in chair memories.” We have used it ever since when we are out there and something extraordinary happens.)
I call those extraordinary moments at the margins, my “growing edges”. Whenever I am forced to reach for meaning in a foreign custom or a cultural nuance, it’s like waking up to a new way of living entirely.
Even a turn of a phrase can cause my perspective to lurch forward sometimes and that’s where today’s video share comes in. Take a look at a short piece that demonstrates how language can point to what’s really important in a culture…
When I saw that video I was rooted to the ground for a moment! Are we too busy to notice and appreciate the sparkle of the water being made by fish or petals? How often do the stars align (literally and figuratively) so we can marvel at the moon’s reflection on the water? Why aren’t there more beautiful places to sit and have a beer outside? I live in Vermont, and I’m always curious about the scarcity of outdoor seating.
But my favorites are the concepts of caring about someone else’s sense of comfort in a social setting, and savoring the time with family after an excellent meal, sitting and chatting, laughing and telling stories. We do that when we are out there. You can’t rush a meal in Europe or South America. But in our lives at home, we seem to be always rushing off.
Maybe we have a choice in that.
In fact, when we do take the time, we are often discussing those things in the day that brought us to our growing edges, and those that will become our rocking chair memories.
Get out and make a few for yourself this week and take the time to marvel at some sparkling water, a tiny flower on a milkweed plant and maybe you’ll be so refreshed that the next time you have a problem, you’ll desenrascanco…come up with an inspiring idea that saves the day at the last moment!
Stay open, curious and hopeful!
~ Dr. Lynda
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