EXPLORATION – LIFE LESSONS

GOOD MORNING WORLD

I was brought to tears when I watched the video contained in this link http://tinyurl.com/cb9xp3u.  It took me briefly to a small place in my spirit where depression and regret sit.  It is a door I rarely open let alone walk through.  I keep this door slammed shut as I try daily to live an upbeat optimistic lifestyle.  It is a choice I believe.

I was okay until I heard the old man speak about living each day as if it was the first and last day of your life.  He told us to watch the sky other than for weather.  It occurred to me in that moment of a stab of pain of regret that it had been a long time since I had rested on my back and looked up and explored the clouds.  It was a momentary regret as luckily the phone rang to bring me back to reality.  Not soon enough however to keep this idea from forming in my mind.

When was the last time you explored anything?  Think of it honestly.  Explore…..not look or see or hear.  Explore.  What does that mean?  I was not going to bother to cut and paste the definition and decided you had to see it for yourself.  The visual is interesting.

explore [ɪkˈsplɔː]

vb

1. (tr) to examine or investigate, esp systematically

2. to travel to or into (unfamiliar or unknown regions), esp for organized scientific purposes

3. (Medicine) (tr) Med to examine (an organ or part) for diagnostic purposes

4. (tr) Obsolete to search for or out

Do you see what I am talking about?  Don’t understand what I am trying to say?

To explore is to investigate, travel into, examine and those first three all seemingly have intended actions associated with them.  The last definition is the one that caught me this morning when I watched the video.  It is categorized as obsolete.  Obsolete meaning not used anymore? To explore is simply to ‘search for or out’.

Used this way when was the last time you were an explorer?  I do remember during ‘Grandcamp’ one summer lying on the grass with our grandchildren and searching the sky for pure enjoyment of looking at it.  Occasionally as I sit at this desk I do turn my chair and look out at the world before me.  I watch the birds flitting on the trees or look to the sky to see what the weather looks like (intention or exploration?) then say to myself ‘you have to get back to work’.

When was the last time you listened to a piece of music and let the melody or sound carry you away from the action of hearing a song?  There are a couple of pieces of music that can inspire that in me.  One is by Rachmaninoff, another by Gershwin and another by Dvorzak.  I just sit and listen and can almost feel myself being lifted up by the instruments and carried away floating on the musical notes as if I was being held by the five lines of the written staff imagining that it is a hammock.  That is exploring without intention.  That is exploration and experience.

Or a painting. I cannot remember the last time I was in an art museum.  I have looked at art in magazines or on the internet.  I have not had the chance to sit and look at a painting for a long time.  I remember sitting in France and looking at Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ and being lost in the blues he used. That experience can be duplicated occasionally by looking at the many prints there are out there of it.  Not the same.  Or looking at my favorite I think – it is the ‘Wedding Feast at Cana’ in the Louvre.  It is (from wikipedia)

“a massive painting by the late-Renaissance or ManneristItalian painter, Paolo Veronese. It is on display in the Musée du Louvre in Paris, where it is the largest painting in that museum’s collection.”

Until I went to look for the artist’s name I had no idea it was the largest painting!  It was in the same room as Mona – the “Mona Lisa”.  I was more taken with the Cana painting.  We bought a small 12×12 print to bring home and frame.  It was framed an olive mat and intricate gold frame about 14×16 when completed and hung in our entrance hall in Memphis.

On another trip to Paris my husband (he had to work there occasionally-poor man) bought me a larger print and had it framed with a beautiful blue mat in a mahogany frame to match our dining room furniture.  He gave it to me for Valentine’s Day one year.  He said he had heard me say often that I wish we’d bought a larger print.  We gave the smaller one to a friend, in the Diocesan office in Memphis, who had helped us often with our Worldwide Marriage Encounter ministry.  That started us, after buying more prints of smaller sizes, giving prints of this painting away to other WWME friends.

I do meander don’t I?  And then yet isn’t that the point I am trying to make?  Exploration is not a destination it is a journey.  Think of a baby.  Place this baby on the floor and watch them.  They go this way, that way.  They touch this, shy away from that, move forward, move backward.  They are exploring.  They are learning their environment.  Even better lay them in their crib or on the floor and watch them play with their toes.  Wide-eyed wonder at something that is simply part of their foot!

Exploration takes time and suspension of all else in our way.  We are so inundated with our environment that I am not sure exploration is possible/allowed in our personal spaces.  Perhaps that is what I am doing with this blog.  Certainly I am exploring whether I can reach a goal.  That is intended so does not fit the premise.  I think that sometimes when I am carried away by an idea like the meditation by Tecumseh or when I go looking for more information I am an explorer in my way and world.

One of my favorite art projects that I did years ago was a drawing in red pastel pencil of my hand.  It was an interesting exercise.  I had to hold my left hand on a table in a position and draw it with my right of course on the paper.  I got to look at the lines and swirls and veins of my hand print.  I looked at the length (or lack of length) of my fingers.  The lines at each knuckle.  The rings of white gold encircling my third finger.  It was fascinating.  Try it!!

At least sit and look at your hands for awhile.  Explore the indentations, the scars from scrapes or of age.  Let yourself go to your memory and think of the things these hands have held.  Explore those reaches of your mind.

Without thinking too hard I have indirectly touched greatness as I held onto the railing in Springfield, Illinois that Abraham Lincoln touched every night he went upstairs to sleep in that house.  For tourists there is no other access to tour the upstairs except to hold this railing and the guide points it out.  It was truly a thrill.

My hands have created meals to feed and nourish my family.  My hands have caressed foreheads to soothe sadness or nourish hearts.  I know for certain that my hands have held God in the person of my husband, our babies and our grandbabies.

…..and there it is – exploration needs to be a life lesson.  We must – no I cannot tell anyone what to do.  We can choose to take time each day for us.  Five minutes might be enough.  Pick up that item on your desk or look at the picture you see everyday and do not give a second thought.  Look it over – enjoy the memories – explore the possibilities.  Or even better leave you desk and go look at your world with new eyes.  This is the first and last day you will have right now!

This is Sunday.  I have an additional question.  Could it be that exploration is a form of prayer?

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

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2 comments on “EXPLORATION – LIFE LESSONS

  1. I have always thought that being in tune with nature and really seeing it is a type of prayer. I mean creation of any kind—–WOW!!

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