The Chronicle Sessions - The Bigger Picture
Updated: Nov 10, 2019
Pay attention. Be aware.
There is so much beauty in the details;
that so often go unnoticed and missed
among the mundane and menial tasks we find ourselves in day to day.
Everything slows to a crawl and I see it all. I breathe.
The only sound I hear in the air passing through my body
And the gentle pound of my heart in my chest.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the things that don’t matter.
The day to day routine of life.
But…don’t miss it.
The mystical, wondrous magic of this place;
try not to be too occupied to appreciate the simplicity that surrounds you.
Open your eyes to all potential and possibility.
You create your circumstances with what you are willing to see.
Poem by Kirsten Toth
Photograph by Kirsten Toth
I’ve been in an interesting state of mind this past month as I found myself struggling to understand myself, other people and ultimately the bigger picture of life. Where it is we came from, how we grew to be who we are, why we do the things that we do, all seemed to have come to the forefront of my thoughts. Although now that I look at it, it seems like a highly ambitious topic to discuss, which is probably why it’s taken me the entire month to even write a single word for this post.
I spent the majority of the month observing. Observing both the things inside and outside of me, the positive and the negative and everything layered in between. It took a fair bit of concentration and an intentional awareness to be able notice what was going on around and in me and to later reflect on those experiences. I found this process both confusing and draining on my energy levels. I began getting into the habit of watching the lives of other people when I was out in public; simply out of curiosity, but also in an effort to understand. I wanted to see the bigger, grander ideas of life within the experiences we as humans take part in.
There was an older gentleman I started to see on multiple occasions walking down the street. He was easily distinguishable as he walked gently with crutches and wore the same clothing in every instance. The more I saw this man, the more I felt like I had to speak to him and for whatever reason I wanted to know his story. One night as I was walking home from a music event with great friends at a local pub, the man appeared before me sitting on a bench. As I approached him I internally debated with myself if I should follow through with what I had previously said to myself and actually talk to the man. The space between us was slowly closing as I walked….and I politely say hello. With no expectation of a response, I hear him kindly and enthusiastically reply hello back. I was slightly taken aback with the manner of his voice and I decided to stop and converse for a few moments. We exchanged names and I inquired about his situation (he was recovering from an injury) and asked him some personal questions about his past and background. His story portrayed a well-educated man, but has found himself in unforeseen circumstances, greatly impacting the course of his life. There was one other instance where I was walking home and ran into the man again. What I learned from these meetings was the idea of looking deeper, past the assumptions and judgement. On the outside it appeared that this man was homeless and unemployed, struggling to make it down the street. Looking closer, I saw someone kind, intelligent and genuinely happy to be able to walk down the street (crutches included), no matter what the weather, all in an effort to heal his injury faster. This man possessed such a great insight and perspective that I couldn’t help but feel inspired.
Everybody’s lives are so beautiful and distinctly unique. I love seeing people accomplishing their goals, starting new chapters, going on adventures and sharing love. It’s been said before that we as people in society today tend to share the positive, highlighted versions of our lives on social media and purposefully leave the negative out of the equation. Although this may be true to an extent, if you take a closer look you also see people sharing sadness, anger and frustrations as well. There is no sense in spending time and energy judging or comparing your life to others because in those brief moments of observing one another, much of the root of each of us is hidden and we really only see the branches and blossoms of each person’s entire life. We watch each other to see who is thriving as well as who may be struggling or breaking down. What we can forget however, is that the surface level qualities are only altered because of the conditions in the roots of that being. Although, how one views the things that we see on the outside makes our understanding subjective in nature. It still revolves around perspective and how you look at your life and at the world. Your perspective becomes your shape of understanding.
It’s very easy to only see what’s within the parameters of that box we created for ourselves. Each person’s box is as big or as small as one imagines it to be. Does it have to be a box at all, or can it be anything or any form we want it to be? You can look at something, whether it is an idea, concept, artistic endeavor, business venture, even your relationships; you can observe the surface level qualities it possesses very easily. You brain makes the fastest, most efficient connections from neuron to neuron in order for us to come to an understanding of these things. But what about understanding the qualities that reside deep below what we scan over every day? Getting to this place takes great patience and willingness to truly slow down and take your time observing yourself and what is around you. Once there, and individuals perception of reality can start to change as a heightened sense of awareness to all things becomes greater and more developed than before. Start looking at it from a 360 degree view instead of two sides to coin.
And maybe ask yourself some questions.
Who am I?
What do I love?
What do I not love?
Am I happy?
Who are my people?
Do I love myself?
Why I am I not where I thought I would be?
Should I quit and give up?
What are the lessons in every experience I’ve had?
Did every moment exist for a purpose and a meaning to be where we are now?
Are those the reasons why we do what we do?
Or is it all insurmountably, well… bigger than all of that?