Clear Windows and Bruised Heads

During my sabbatical, I have taken to asking myself daily what I am curious about. It’s helped me to be aware of my thinking and to process some existential questions. It also serves to keep me present in each moment (well, usually) and to help me completely “be” right where I am.

As I sat down to journal yesterday and I was pondering what to journal about, I asked myself that question: “What am I curious about right now?” It didn’t take long for me to find an object of intrigue as I sat on my friends’ sunporch overlooking a flower garden and numerous bird feeders in an ornithological paradise.

Peering out the window, I could see squirrels running, bluejays swooping in to feed, and bees nestling in to blossoms to receive their sweet nectar. But it wasn’t these that most had me pondering. I could hear a steady thumping against the window and let my eyes readjust for seeing what was near when I saw a bee trying to get into the house. Six or seven times, it hurled itself into the glass to no avail. Apparently, it didn’t realize that there was a clear window blocking its way.

Watching this futile display of unawareness, I wondered if the bee would have acted differently if it would have backed up and noticed that there was a frame, allowing it to have the realization that a window also existed. The intellectual capacities of a bee probably wouldn’t allow for this epiphany, but what about us?

I continued to let my mind wander through the fields of wonderment as I considered myself in this equation. Would I have the sense to take a deep breath and step back so that I can see the full picture? I would like to think that I can answer this in the affirmative, but I am sure that there are plenty of times when I am so triggered and living in my amygdala that such a thing doesn’t even cross my mind. So, there it is – another mindfulness practice to be placed in my quiver for a time such as, well, anytime.

What if humanity were to practice this as well? If we just allowed ourselves the time to step back from the clear glass and see the frame around it, we would have a framework with which to operate. We could see the bigger picture and stop banging our heads against the proverbial glass. As we keep stepping back, we can see the entire house; the system that makes things work the way they do. Then perhaps we won’t be so quick to judge each other.

And, if we keep backing up just a little bit further, we will smell the flowers that those bees are taking joy from and a beautiful bluejay will come and land on our shoulder. Maybe, just maybe, it will whisper in our ear, “It’s ok. I’ve been there, too.”

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