AND Experience the Real Thing to Know

March 1st, 2015

Much of the US has been dealing with a barrage of snowstorms this month. Whatever your response to the weather, for me there is an element of beauty, or at least awe, involved. Even in the case of destructive forces, there is something awesome in their power and force.

Today I went for a brief walk. The snow looked so gorgeous from inside. Before I went for a walk, I shoveled the last remnants of snow on the stairs and chopped what ice was amenable to being chopped. Shoveling and chopping ice are deceptive activities, if you are dressed appropriately, because the temperature can feel warmer than it really is.

The cold hit my face and my eyes began to run (which is more than I can say for the pace I was keeping, as I walked). It was still beautiful. And though my initial thought was to give up on the walk and go back inside, I kept going for a brief walk.

As I walked, the winds were quiet. Yet, the sheer force of the cold penetrated my pants and unprotected face. I stopped to reflect on the importance of experiencing directly what I had previously trusted a thermometer and view out the window to tell me.

The temperature was well above zero and given our recent past, I expected it to feel warmer. In fact, during the ice chopping, I wasn’t cold at all. Looking outside, I could see that the wind was quiet and the snow picturesque, leading me to focus on the more pleasant aspects of a day, while missing what the actual experience might bring.

The whole exercise reminded me of the movie, Dead Poets Society, where the teacher inspired students to try something new and to imagine possibilities. In his teachings, he focused on the Romantics and skipped the lesson on the Realists. Both being critical, his young students lacked the experience of testing their romantic or dreamy perspectives against some of the harsher realities in our world.

I am definitely one who believes in going after the dream, looking for the beauty, and celebrating the gift. AND I would also argue that it behooves each of us to test our perceptions against our experience to know what is real for us in the experience. What we believe and what we tell ourselves limit our ability to perceive without bias. Testing our beliefs and imaginings gives us the chance to know what is real for us.

AND when we marry the two perspectives can we hold fast to the dream, truly see what is, and learn to gracefully accept and appreciate whatever comes our way. We are the only ones who can accurately know what it is we experience. So test, with an open heart, senses, and mind to know what is true for you.

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