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Learning in Asia Experiences and life lessons while teaching in Thailand.

Out to lunch

THAILAND | Tuesday, 24 February 2015 | Views [511]

I often feel like we miss the beauty that surrounds us each and every day. It seems as if, at least in Western culture, Nature's beauty is regarded as a wondrous marvel to behold only when spectacular or uncommon sights are seen; however, we remain incognizant to Mother Nature's more frequent yet equally magnificent manifestations of Her beauty. 
The sun rises and sets daily, but how often do you take time to notice it? How often do you notice the birds singing in the morning? Do you notice the colours of the leaves and the buds on the trees before they flaunt their beauty in full bloom? How often do you notice the wind’s soft caress on your skin as you walk briskly to your destination? Unless Nature's gifts are blatantly before us, we rarely stop to absorb the beauty in the elements around us, but more importantly within us! We are nature and She is us, but we ignore Her, block Her out as we gaze down at our phones while She tries to speak to us. So many of us are ‘out to lunch.’ 
 
This is no new observation to me, however this realization was compounded during a thunderstorm this week. I was sitting at my desk at home and I heard the long roar of thunder shaking the tin roof that shelters my room. It started quietly as if a distant jet plane and then the sound waves announced their presence in my more immediate vicinity as if a lion was outside my door, beckoning me to answer Nature’s call. I answered Nature’s knocking and walked outside to feel the cool evening air that held the feel of impending rain. 
 
When I first glanced up at the dark, cloud-filled sky, it immediately lit up into a bright white, almost as if the sun had returned high in the sky for a fleeting fling with the moon. Darkness returned almost as soon as the light had appeared and moments later the distant sound of rolling thunder filled the night air, accompanied by the rustling leaves and creaking trees unable to resist being tussled by the wind. I stood there, devoting all my senses to absorbing the beauty of my surroundings. In doing so, I noticed that I was alone. I am sure the others that share my living accommodations heard the events transpiring, however none of them cared to enshroud themselves in the sensory ambrosia of the incoming storm. I considered extending an invitation to my colleagues but I was too engrossed in the moment to even lower my gaze from the cloud canopy. I’m glad that I kept my eyes fixed above because I saw numerous lightning strikes directly overhead and felt as if I could hear every single crack of the thunder that followed the magnificent, branch-like, electrical flashes. Soon after, I heard raindrops falling on the leaves of the plants beside me, but had yet to feel the water on my body. I extended my arms to let the rain kiss my skin, the cool drops quickly covering my body until I took shelter. I sat for some time and continued to watch Mother Nature water her beloved earth bound organisms. 
 
 
 
It is difficult to put into words the elegant simplicity of a storm as the smallest details culminate to create the awe-inspiring natural phenomenon. While enjoying this simple, natural gift I could not help but think that all of my living mates were likely sitting in their rooms at their computers consumed with media and games, totally ignorant to the brilliant light show happening right above their heads. I feel as if this oblivion is all too common in our lives. We only break our gaze from our phones if something screams to grab our attention. What I find humourous is that if this 'something' is an awesome natural event, most of us likely grab the closest piece of technology capable of taking a photograph and put it between ourselves and the phenomenal display. I understand wanting to share beautiful experiences with your social network, but how can you share a captured moment if you were barely even present to absorb the ephemeral beauty of a fleeting sunset? 
 
I guess all I am trying to say is that there is beauty in every day and it is readily accessible. The simplest things in life can be the most beautiful. I do not like the clichéd nature of that statement but it holds so much truth. I believe it to be true because all of Earth's beings are variant manifestations of the incredible beauty of life itself. The same amazing and beautiful life that is housed within each one of our bodies. It is unfortunate that we separate and distract ourselves from the life around us, however I find it even more tragic that we are equally disconnected from the life flowing within us. 
 
One of the simplest and truest pieces of knowledge I have gained on my personal journey deals with this common affliction and I would like to share it with you. Pay attention! Simply, pay attention to…everything! What’s around you? Notice the sounds, smiles, colours, your moods, foods, breaths, steps, birds, words, feelings, meanings, clouds passing, kids laughing, is society collapsing?? 
 
There is so much to be noticed all around us, and so much of it can bring a smile that will vibrate within you and radiate around you. Try to notice things that are a part of your daily routine that you may have neglected to appreciate, you may be surprised at how great your lunch tastes!! 
 
Lots of love, 
Andrew

Tags: growing, learning, life lessons, pay attention, sunsets, thunderstorms, travelling

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