(Originally posted 13th March, 2007)
A wise man once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.”
It’s struck me this evening just how true those words really are, and it reminded me why Geoff In the Morning came into being. It was for me to stop, look around at what’s really going on around me and to find an outlet to express the appreciation I have for the small things in life.
But along the way, I forgot that. Life got in the way, as it has a habit of doing. It’s been over a year since I’ve been on the air here. I had all the stress of a separation and divorce to deal with, stuff with work and getting used to being on my own again. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worthwhile. Somewhere along the road I’ve walked, I’ve started to discover me again.
One thing I’ve learned from the photography I’ve done over the past couple of years is that we don’t often see the world as it truly is. We see what we think is there and that often blinds us to the reality. Robert Pirsig —in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance — talks about how Phaedrus set a writing assignment for one of his students. He asked her to write a short essay about the United States. She found she didn’t know what to say. So he suggested that she write just about the town she was in, and she was still stuck. So he said, just write about the main street of the town. She went away, then came back in distress, saying she still couldn’t think of anything to say, so he said she wasn’t looking and that she should start looking at one building in the street and just write about it, starting from the top left hand brick. She went away and started writing and kept writing and was able to finish the essay. She couldn’t explain it, but it was a relief to her.
Phaedrus pondered this for a while and realised that until she wrote about the brick, she’d been trying to regurgitate all the things she’d been taught, because that’s what she thought he wanted to read. It wasn’t until she started writing about the individual brick that she had to look with her own eyes at what was really there and find a way to express her original thoughts on it.
That’s what it’s like for most of us too. We’ve been taught that the world is the way it is and we just go on regurgitating that day after day. And then we wonder why we get so bored and feel like we’re stuck in a huge rut. It’s because we’re seeing what we think is there, and not what’s really there at all.
When was the last time you went outside and just stared at the moon or the stars? When did you last go for a walk through the forest and enjoy the sounds, sights and smells of the bush? When was the last time you sat down and played the way you did when you were a kid?
Chances are, if you’re like most of us, then the answer’s probably going to be “years ago.” And when you think about it, that’s really a crying shame.
Maybe it’s time for all of us to stop regurgitating what we’ve been taught about the way the world runs and found the time to actually take a long, close look at the world and to come up with some original thoughts about the things around us, and about our own lives. Start with the top left hand brick in your own life and take a long hard loook at it. If you closely examine the rut you’re in, you’ll start to see the footholes you need to climb up out of it.
So, do like young Ferris said. Stop and look around once in a while. Life really is too good to miss.
And while you’re out there, say “hi” to the Moon for me…