Remember that feeling in middle school where you introduce a friend to your parents, and you feel torn in half as you suddenly realize there are different and sometimes incompatible versions of yourself to keep track of? Sometimes that feeling still happens when you introduce friends from different circles to each other. You are different versions of “you” with both parties and suddenly you have to find the middle ground, and it’s not always comfortable.
Blending Worlds to Deepen The Depth of the Moment
I am many people throughout the course of the day. Sometimes, I am mindful and curious and aware and gentle. Other times, I’m fast, furious, focused, and indulging in the convenient.
But the other day the two worlds met. I was eating a corn tortilla and found myself wondering how many people’s lives were involved with the whole process of making them.
From the plastic wrapper they came in to the fields the corn was grown in to the design of the package and the light switches at the factory that pumps them out. How many people were involved? Hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions if you really got right down to it (since each piece of the factory was made in another, and those people were technically involved with these tortillas…you get the idea). Who turns off the lights at the factory, what do they eat for dinner when they get home from work?
Singing Songs to the Cows
I spend half my time in a rural area. I sit on the porch and watch cows. One of them has big white spots and he’s going to turn into food someday. I watch him graze and let my heart ache a little with the awareness of his imminent demise that he has no idea about. He’s just eating grass in the sun.
But someday, people are going to eat him. They will taste the burger and not think of the girl that sat on the porch, folded book on her lap and spiderweb-filled mini-guitar singing songs to the cow as he nibbled on grass by the river. They won’t think of her or her story at all, just the food on their plate and other things on their mind at the time. How could they possibly know about her, never even mind what she had for dreams last night or for breakfast or how she gazed curiously at her corn tortillas.
I wonder about these stories that can infuse our convenient moments with curiosity. It’s easy to buy a package of corn tortillas, but it’s also possible to have curiosity for them.
Loosening the Grip of Our Own Story
In the past few days since the corn tortilla incident, I have applied this type of curiosity to other things and moments that otherwise can feel rather habitual. Brushing my teeth, making coffee, walking around the grocery store. And I’ve discovered something wonderful.
Stories are everywhere, curiosity can always be kindled. Every item on the counter, every car in the lot, every person walking by- stories on top of stories on top of stories.
It’s fun to jump into another story to see the context of our own. It can get us out of our own head, and it can bring some magic to an ordinary moment. It can also be great fuel for the imagination for writing stories and songs or working with a business problem in a new and creative way.
I feel moved to share this little tidbit because it has really stuck with me, and getting to stuck in our own story can sometimes limit us in terms of what we imagine. Imagination is great, use it whenever you can, especially when it can bring you a greater amount of gratitude and appreciation and awe for the little things in life like corn tortillas.
Are there convenient things that you take for granted a lot that may contain stories you never even imagined?
Do you think that it would be fun to look at life with this type of curiosity sometimes, or would it just make things too complicated?
Do you stare into lit up windows and wonder about the people who live inside and what they might be like?
I hope everyone is well