We see items all around us every day; however, often times we only see what the world sees. Seeing is beyond the obvious. Our mind goes through life in autopilot and a rock is a rock, a tree is a tree and a candle is just a candle…or are they? Sure the obvious is what we make of it. For me, they are all those things, and they are more than that. I will briefly provide you a view of what a rock, tree and candle means to me.
A rock is a symbol of strength. It can be a reminder of how we have to sometimes be like a rock and be solid in our ways. I like how you can gather stones and make them into an Inukshuk, a northern symbol for guiding the way. For the Inukshuk, the stones come from all over to form one image. This is no different than any team that I have been part of. We all bring something of significance and together we have strength…one rock at a time. Each rock holds its place and is supportive of the rest. Without structure, the Inukshuk is just a pile of stones but put together with care, it is a strong symbol.
The tree has roots and to be like a tree, you need to have deep roots. Without deep roots the tree is not solid and will topple over. It is a reminder that while the visible tree trunk and branches are the tree on the surface that we see, actually the depth of what you do not see is of most significance and holds us in place…the roots. Our foundation becomes the roots that guide us and provides the strength that will allow the tree, and us, to grow.
A candle holds significance for me as well. As it is lit, it has warmth and the flame holds intensity. Have you ever stared into a flame and seen the brightness and stillness all in one? If you think of my life as a candle and those around me as unlit candles and as we interact, we share from a candle to another candle, our light is not diminished but rather significant and as we light other candles, we lose nothing in the process. We transfer to others much like the flame from a candle is transfer to another. There are times where I will light someone’s candle and there are times where someone will light mine. Either way, we are richer by the experience.
These three are simple examples of what I see that is beyond the obvious. People think that I am unique in that I can pull significance from the everyday. I think we all have this capacity if we open our mind to it. It takes time to train the mind to pull the extraordinary from the ordinary but we can. It is about applying the principle in my TEDxSFU talk where I bring up CARPE Diem – Curiosity, Appreciation, Reflection, Perspective and Experience. All of these come to the surface when one is trying to pull purpose and meaning out of something.
What does a blank piece of paper hold for you? How about a TV remote control? A locked door and a key means what? A set of footprints in the fresh snow that you encounter pulls what meaning? The possibilities are quite endless if you just look around you. As I have found significance in a puzzle piece, door stop and footprints in the sand (that I have shared in the past), I am always keeping my mind open to the world around me. Pick something up, look at it from a different perspective and see what comes to you. I would be interested in hearing what you uncover.
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