Thursday, August 05, 2004

From a distance…

Well, the long weekend is behind me, and I am now moving full speed ahead into lazy, hazy, crazy August. I am not quite sure where July went, but it is in the history books now and August is in full swing. Hard to believe it is already the 5th and I am just getting around to my first entry for the month. Who put the world into the fast forward mode anyway? It is almost impossible to sit and write when your world is spinning faster than the speed of light!! Oh well, I will try to find a quiet spot in the middle of the vortex this morning and post something.

We had such a busy but fun time on the weekend that I think it will take me a week to catch up on my sleep. I seem to have the hazy and crazy part of summer down pat, but I am missing the lazy phase this year.

The kids arrived late Friday night and they brought lots of laughter with them. As usual, the phone rang off the hook while they were here, and the house was a hive of activity. We went non-stop, from early in the morning till late at night each day, and had so much fun.

When every one was here for the BBQ on Sunday, I went to the back of the yard and sat on the garden swing, for a little while and just enjoyed the sound of laughter and chatter coming across the yard to me. All of the activity was on the deck by the house, so the garden swing gave me a nice, removed vantage point to observe the party from. I find it pleasant to sit apart from a crowd like that and look back on it, and listen to the sounds from a distance. Have you ever done that? It gives an added dimension to any gathering, and provides the perfect makings for a wonderful vivid memory. It is almost like focusing a special camera and taking a mental snapshot of the event. All the sights and sounds make a lasting impression when you do this.

At my nephew’s wedding last year I made a point of leaving the tent where all the dancing and partying was going on and I walked down the farm lane to the road and then looked back on the scene. The night was dark, the air cool and the tent looked like an illusion, all lit up in the night. The sound of music mingled with the songs of the crickets and frogs and it was quite a combination. I can see it all and hear it clearly again as I sit here writing about it today. I had to step away from the centre of the party to see it like that though.

I did the same thing at Sha’s wedding this year. I made a point of going outside and looking back at the tent from a distance. I stood quietly and tried to listen to the night sounds of nature all around me; feel the temperature of the air and the dampness in the grass; see the stars in the sky and the dark shadows of the trees on the lawn; and breathe in the sweet perfume released from the plants in the cool of the evening. All these sights, fragrances and feelings, mingling with the muffled laughter and music coming from the tent made for a magic moment that is vividly etched in my memory now.

Try it the next time you are at a function you want to capture in your memory, or any moment that you want to freeze in time. Make the effort to step away from it, and look at the total picture. Feel it, smell it, taste it, listen to it.

I try to go out of my way to do this whenever I am in a crowd of people. If I can’t remove myself physically to a different location, then I just do it mentally and try to look at the situation as an outsider instead of a participant. For example: sometimes when I am in a movie theatre I take my eyes off the screen and look around me at the faces of the people in the darkened theatre with me. It is surreal to see the light flickering on their faces, while all eyes are intently watching the movie. I see hands moving automatically to mouths with offerings of popcorn or chocolate, all the while, their eyes are fixed intently on the screen. We are all seated together in this big room, but we are each in our own private worlds. Much like life. We are all in it together, but rarely look around to see, really see, each other.

Things often take on a different look and feel when viewed from a distance don’t they? We can also use this “looking at things from a distance” action to help us see an upsetting situation in a different light and get a clearer picture of it.

Go ahead. Try it. Whatever you encounter in your life, step away from it and try to view it from a distance to get a glimpse of the whole picture. Observe it objectively and see how it looks from that angle. If it is a happy event, this locks it in your memory like nothing else can, and if it is an upsetting situation; this just might help you find a solution or a way to cope until you do find a solution.

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