Have you ever asked if you are making new memories? It’s actually an interesting question.
Remember what it was like as a youth? The whole world was ours! There were new discoveries everywhere and we approached them with the wonder of new eyes. People, places, ideas and things were wonders to behold, and our young minds absorbed them rapidly, taking it all in quickly, in a rush of discovery.
Then what happened?
We started life’s school. We began to learn the knowledge of the ages. We learned to categorize. There were no longer just plants, but trees, bushes, shrubs, vegetables and flowers. There were no longer just animals, there were wild ones, farm ones, house ones, some you rode and some that could ride on you. There weren’t just thoughts, but good ones, bad ones, crazy ones and sane ones.
We collected memories, ideas and categories a lot like a house collects dust. They all piled into our heads, collecting everywhere. There’s the living room of daily thoughts and experiences. There’s the kitchen were we let things simmer; the bedroom where we let things sleep; the bathroom where we flush things away; the dining room where we eat the same things over and over; the junk room of random, seldom used ideas and the front yard where we keep what we want other’s to see.
All of these memories, pieces of knowledge, ideas and thoughts became normal. We lived in our houses and saw them every day. Periodically, we’d clean house and toss more into the junk room or closet where they’d pile up, soon to be forgotten in our sub-conscious.
Eventually, our house became so full we stopped ‘buying’ things. “Aw, I already have one of those and it doesn’t work well”; “I’ve seen that before and I’m not interested” and “been there, done that”, became the litany of our heads. And slowly, we stopped learning. Life took on a regularity of thought, action, computers, television…and memories.
We developed patterns and habits that started carving out that chasm we call ‘a rut’. We ceased creating and discovering new wonders. We became ‘armchair adventurers’ as we settled down in front of a book, computer or TV. To varying degrees, we stopped living.
My Webster’s dictionary defines life as, “that property of plants and animals (ending at death) which makes it possible for them to take in food, get energy from it, grow, etc.”
We stopped taking in new experiences and new thoughts. Oh, sure, we read about things, we may watch the discovery channel and add a new piece of knowledge to the junk room (or bathroom), but we lost our wonder at the world. We became jaded, even believing it is a product of age, but that’s just an excuse…..and a lie.
A wise friend once told me the quote, “The greatest journey is not in seeking new vistas, but in having new eyes.” I remember it, periodically, when I face my own lethargy of routine and habit. So, how do we have new eyes? We have to stop assuming we’re right, and that we’ve seen it all before – because we haven’t. There is not one flower, one mountain, one child, one animal, action or even thought that is the same. Similarities exist, of course, but a wealth of differences also exists.
It is in that wealth of differences that life, with the food and energy to grow, resides.
Right here is where a lot of people stop living. “I like my armchair, thank you very much!” And I understand. It’s comfy. You can absolutely sit there for the rest of your life, too. But I ask you, is there anything new? Do things change? Do you get really excited? What new memories and adventures are you experiencing? Are you growing?
For many, they don’t care; the questions are stupid. For others, it sparks a seed of yearning; and for others, a seed of fear. People want to keep growing, but many don’t know how, or they’re tired and it all looks the same.
The repetition of the same thing over and over, can exhaust us. Our ruts exhaust us. There is nothing new in it, no juice, no new ‘food’ to grow on. Things have lost their magic, and we have lost interest. It’s all the same, people say. This I will call having ‘old eyes’.
Please understand that ‘old eyes’ is a choice. It doesn’t matter if it was beaten into us or we declined gracefully – it is still a choice. We choose to wake to a new day, or the same old thing. We choose to lie in our rut, or to climb out. Every one of us chooses to close our eyes or to open them, to sit down and stop living fully or to climb out and explore.
Developing new eyes is not as hard as one might think. It’s a matter of breaking the routines and ruts that bind us. To begin breaking your ruts, take a look at how you live your day. What are your routines?
Figure that out and make a list so you remember. Then begin to change them. If you always get up, make coffee and read the paper, change the routine to get up, make coffee and then step outside or open the window for a few minutes before reading the paper. Look at what’s growing. What’s in the street today? If you drive to work a certain way, change your route. Take a different street and see what’s there. Rearrange your furniture, go to new parks, eat at different restaurants. Break up your routines, what you always do - and then open your eyes.
Look for the differences and actually see the changes happening all around you. Drink them in, wonder why they are so and how they happened. Don’t take anything for granted or at face value. Get curious, ask questions, explore and have new eyes that look at the world around you.
See the magic.
Ask anew – who do I want to be? How do I want to feel? What would I love to do? Do I want to stay glued to my TV/book/phone/computer…..or do I actually want to get out and meet real, flesh and blood people, see real flowers and trees and stars? What changes do I need to make to be, do and experience what I want?
Bring the light of new eyes to your life. Bring the wonder back. Find the food of new experiences that brings energy to tired, bored bones. Allow something new in. Open the doors and windows to the fresh air. Redecorate yourself - your life and your head!
Diana Adkins is an Author, Teacher, Coach and Minister in the Toltec traditions where awareness, transformation and intent are masteries to aspire to. Her mission is to support people towards self-awareness, self-respect, clarity and truth.