Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blinded by Sight

It didn’t take me long to realize that focusing on what I expected to see left me functionally blind.

I remember sitting and watching What the Bleep in the Theater, early on in my new age thinking escapades tickled as my yoga friends, munching popcorn between us at the Ritz East downtown, and I watched mainstream media delve into the realms previously only seen from my yoga mat. And many years later, as I sat at a conference on the Vesca Pesces (I had come quite a ways, literally and figuratively) on Kauai that the same movie bit was reshown. It was the piece about how the Native Americans could not see the approaching ships on the horizon because they had no mechanism to understand what a ship was. It was not until the ship was close, perhaps even landing, I cannot recall, that the poor Native Americans watched the Caucasians waltz off these magical creations – and well, we all know how that went, holiday construction paper turkey commemoratives excluded.

It’s a fascinating concept that if we cannot imagine it, we cannot see it.

Recently I was at Tunnels Beach on Kauai, lazily enjoying my afternoon, listening to the bird serenades, pretending that I could accurately differentiate between the Brazilian Cardnials and the other birds. Until I heard the Shama. I know the special song of those beloved birds, and I thought: Gee. I wish I could understand what they were saying; that I could communicate with the natural world. I let my intention drift off as my attention went back to my book, Savage Breast, while I laid on my stomach and soaked in the leftover heat of the sand.

 And then I screeched. Loudly. 

Shooting up on one arm, I whipped my heard around to see an equally frightened Morning Dove who had apparently waltzed onto my feet, and I in my over-caffeniated Zen-like presence had screamed at the unknown touch. I hadn’t seen it coming. I had no clue of what bird’s feet and wings felt like, until the poor frightened thing flapped away, much to its shock and the chagrin of the beach onlookers.

Kaua’i can be like that: life can be like that: You get what you ask for. But most of us have decided what it will look like and we sit and wait for it, just as we imagined -  as our life quietly passes us by.  I watched plenty of Disney movies where the bluebirds land on your shoulder, tweet sweetly in your ear, and perhaps even adorn you in ribbons and scraps for a much needed ball gown. I had not seen what a hungry, innocent, domesticated-pretzel-eating Morning Dove looks like when it happens on to a frightened, unobservant Caucasian girl’s tender feet.

So what was I expecting to see?

Didn’t matter. I wasn’t looking and the moment passed.

We cannot always be looking with our eyes, but can we be present to the guaranteed unexpectedness of the moment? Answer carefully. It’s a tall order. But may be doable in baby steps.

If we attach to our expectations, we never know what unidentified gift or gamble may pass by our expectantly blinded eyes.


pam said...

Love: "You get what you ask for. But most of us have decided what it will look like and we sit and wait for it, just as we imagined - as our life quietly passes us by."

Thanks my Kate. I miss you.


Kathy said...

Pam's words are my words. Already typed and sent. Perfectly.

Thanks my Katie. I miss you.

love all ways,

Amy C said...

This reminds me of a recent experience climbing. Well... we *went* climbing, but we couldn't climb the route because the start was under water and there was no way to get over to it.

I thought, '"some days you go climbing and other days you take your gear on a really great hike."

It was a beautiful day and we took full advantage of it. But had we been expecting only to climb, we'd have been sorely disappointed.

It's good to look around once in awhile and appreciate what *is* without expectation or judgement for what you believe it to be.

Thank you for such a beautiful post.

Susan Zoë said...

Lovely Kate :)

Wisdom of One said...

thank you all, for your comments.
@Amy, yes. It is our ability to change in midcourse and be grateful for the change....that's the trick.