Category Archives: Release

What Size is Your Cage?

This morning I was out walking, and I saw a woman with several large dogs. I think she is watching a couple houses for people that are on vacation, so she promised to take care of their pets while they are gone. It’s interesting how such a small woman can command such a large group of powerful looking dogs. It reminds me of that story of the circus elephant. When the elephant was a baby, they tied a rope to its leg, and then tied the other end to a nearby tree. As elephant grew, he realized that he could only go so far from the tree. When he became an adult, he had learned through experience, trial and error, that his world was only confined to a certain area around that tree. Because he was fed and cleaned on a regular basis, he never really had the motivation to and try and move past his confinements.

It’s like when I was in a fish store once, looking at the various fish. On one side of the store, were all the fighting fish. These were fish that you don’t put into a tank with another fish, because they will fight and fight until one of them is eaten by the other fish. The other side of the store is lined with passive fish. Passive fish are content to stay in a tank with many different kinds of fish, and get along well without ever feeling the need to eat each other. I noticed on the side with the fighting fish that there were two sharks, that looked as though they were the same species, or breed, or whatever you call fish, but they were much different sizes. Much different than you would expect from a parent and child. It was as though one of them was a miniature version of the other one. Of course because they were on the side of the fighting fish, they were in different tanks.

Sometimes when you try and see what is really going on behind something that looks different than you think it should, you can be amazed at the complexities that are all around us every day. When you look at this, you might see one thing, but when you look again, you might see something completely different. I’m not sure if you’ve had this experience before. It’s kind of like Déjà vu, when you see something, and you can’t quite put your finger on it. You feel that feeling, and get those sensations, and those allow you to remember those things that you’ve been thinking about for quite a while. It’s those things around you can get really interesting, and you start to really become curious about this. Like you really need to find out more , and discover the truth. Many people, like you, have the courage to follow through on your natural curiosity, while others are content to sit and wait and see what happens.

So when I asked the shop owner why the sharks are different sizes, he said it was because of how they grew up. If you put a baby shark in a small cage, it will only grow to the size of the small cage. But if you put a baby shark in the big cage, it will grow to match the size of its big cage. And the interesting thing is, even if a shark is an adult, and you switch to a bigger cage, you will see an increase in growth when you increase your cage size. Even better is when you get rid of the cage altogether, and roam free. Then you can grow to monstrous proportions.

Which is what happened to the elephant. While he didn’t grow to monstrous proportions, he realized that rope that was holding him to the tree was no match for him. One day there was a fire, and he looked down at the rope decided that it had served its purpose. It had kept him safe long enough, but if he continued to ignore it, it might actually cause him harm. So he quickly broke it, and after he found his freedom, he went and helped the other circus animals and performers escape. He has been roaming free ever since.

How about you?

Choose Your Own Criteria

There is a new bookstore in my town I’m just dying to go to this weekend when I get a chance. It’s on the other side of town, so I’m going to have to make a day of it. It is four stories, and has an Internet café on the fourth floor. Internet café’s in Japan are really cool. Not only do you get the Internet, but also you get free drinks (non alcoholic), a nice comfortable leather chair, and a semi private space to do whatever you please. They even have huge racks of comic books that you can read if that is your thing. But one of the reason’s I’m particularly interested in this book store is they built it next door to a coffee shop, and I heard they knocked down the wall between the coffee shop and the bookstore, so customers can kind of go to two shops in one. It’s great when you find that some things just go together.

Like some people are just a perfect match for each other. I’m you know several couples that you just couldn’t picture except with each other, like they’ve known each other for many many lifetimes. And the funny thing is, is that they are both similar in many ways and different in many ways. Like God somehow picked them specifically to be with each other. Some people fit together like a simple jigsaw puzzle, but an old one that is kind of bent and faded. It’s easy to get the pieces to match, but they fall apart quickly, and it doesn’t take long to hook them up. Others are like those really complicated brain puzzles you find where it takes almost forever to see how they fit, but when they finally fit together, it suddenly becomes obvious. And they don’t want to separate, because they don’t want to go through the hassle of being put back together again.

Other puzzles are the trick ones that magicians use in their magic acts. They look like there is no way they could fit together, but with a magic flick of his wand, they suddenly become inseparable. These of course, are only built to look like they are connected, and even though everybody knows on some level that they aren’t really connected; they kind of play along and make believe they are connected. Nobody wants to be the guy that stands up and reveals how the trick is done. That can ruin it for everybody.

Then there are those once in a while situations that you come across. Like when you see a cat and a dog hanging out together. Maybe their owner had them since they were a puppy and a kitten, or maybe the dog is suffering some midlife crisis and he thinks he is a cat, but there they are. Natures sworn enemies have somehow decided that it doesn’t matter if they are supposed to be enemies, if they want to hang out together, they are going to hang out together. They don’t care what anybody says. They have found the secret of being able to create your own happiness without being dependent on the opinions of others. Who knows, maybe many animals, dogs and cats, lions and zebras, cobras and mongooses try and be friends with each other, only to find out how powerful peer pressure is, and fall back into the roles that their respective societies have chosen for them, and give up on being able to think for yourself, so you can define your own criteria for happiness.

Which is why I am looking forward to going to that bookstore. It is not a mainstream bookstore, and it is kind of on a small side street, so it won’t likely be very crowded. One thing I like to avoid is large crowds. There is nothing better than discovering some really cool like this, and sharing it with your friends.

The Monkeys’ Discovery

Once upon a time there was a large group of circus monkeys. They had previously worked for a circus. Not really a circus, more like a traveling carnival. And the owner of the carnival wasn’t a very nice person. He was always treating the monkeys and the other employees rather unkindly. Because he had purchased the monkeys at a very young age from a monkey farm, they didn’t really realize how bad they had it. One thing about monkeys is they adapt very well to their environment. If they grow up in the snow, for example, they will get really good at building igloos, and not be aware that they may have cousins on another island that may be writing Shakespeare to disprove a popular theory of social randomness. But these monkeys didn’t live in the snow, nor did they know anything about Shakespeare or any other social theories. They did know, however, that their life in the traveling carnival wasn’t the way things were supposed to be. They kind of had a feeling.

Feelings are interesting. I was reading a book the other day that was talking about feelings. The book was saying that feelings are really the brains’ way of communicating with us in a simple format. Because they are so many millions of calculations going on inside our heads at all times, it would be impossible for our brains to make sense of it all. So the job of the unconscious mind, according to this book, is to sort through all the data, and compare it to what we’ve decided is what is important to us, and then present us with a feeling. Some call this feeling intuition, some call it a gut instinct, others ignore it altogether, and claim to be enlightened, rational thinking beings. I don’t know how logical you can be if you ignore over 99% of your brains extensively thought out calculations. Of course, in our society, claiming that you base your decisions on your feelings probably won’t get you very far.

Which is interesting in and of itself. If you really think about it, people have feelings, and then later come up with a rational, plausible reason. They explain those reasons to us, which we accept or reject based on our own feelings, which we immediately cover up with rational plausible logical reasons. It’s interesting that as advanced as humans are, we tend to let our logic get in the way sometimes. If you can just trust your feelings, you’ll be amazed how well you can communicate with others. Some argue that because the whole purpose for the evolution of the unconscious is for high-level communications with others on an emotional level, which is the true measure of our humanness. Your ability to communicate with others on congruent emotional level. When you can do this, you really are able to realize your potential. When you can just let go, and fully trust your unconscious, you will be amazed at how much the world opens up for you. Perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe you won’t be amazed.

Many scientists have used this instinct to help them in their discoveries. Edison, Einstein, and Kekule among many others knew the true power of being able to tap your creative genius that lives in everybody. Logic can be helpful, but sometimes it just gets in the way.

After they’d wandered for a few days, the monkeys got another feeling. They saw a forest, or what they thought was a forest. They had been walking for a while, and then just out of nowhere, it appeared. And as it turns out, they forest had many other monkeys of the same kind living in it, so it was like a big homecoming for them. It feels good to finally come back to where you belong, where everything is familiar for the first time, isn’t it?


How to Quickly Beat Stress for Good, Everytime

Your report is overdue. You’ve heard rumors at work, and you wonder if your job is the next one to be cut. Your wife says if you’re late one more time you’re sleeping on the couch. Your kid just failed his third grade spelling test. You desperately need another cup of coffee because you were up late last night worrying if you could make your mortgage payment. Everyday you turn on the news there’s nothing but bad news. Terrorists. Shootings. You look forward to the weekend only to find put of tasks beginning to grow out of hand, out of reach. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

You are stressed. Perhaps you have a little big of high blood pressure. Perhaps your doctor even recommended something about that. Of course, he likely didn’t give you any helpful advice. Maybe a handful of pills that your insurance wouldn’t pay for. He just told you of the dangers of stress, and in telling you how many different ways it can kill you, probably made it even worse. I won’t tell you that most doctors think that stress is behind fully 75% of illnesses today. I won’t tell you that stress is directly responsible habits such as drinking, smoking, over eating, that can cause a slew of health problems, and shorten your life by ten years or more. I’m sure that you already knew that.

Because you are sitting there now, reading this, in that chair, you can naturally begin to realize that you are about to discover the secret that can beat stress before it even starts. Not that stress is all bad. You need a little bit in life to keep you motivated. You can keep the good stress. Competition among peers, a slight bit of frustration that naturally turns into curiosity to give your brain a boost as you are about to learn something new here.

I’m talking about the deadly, useless stress that only seems to make everything worse. That is what you need to get rid of.

The secret? A combination of your breath, appreciation, and choice. Sounds hokey. Sounds metaphysical. Sounds like some goofy tip you’d read in a free online article (wait a sec..). But guess what? It works. The more you practice it, the sooner you will realize that because it is up to you to choose how to respond to your environment, it is you that can decide to feel stress, or not. It may not seem like that now, but after you give this a go, I mean a serious effort, and keep practicing, you’ll your life change for the better.

Ready to learn? Ok, here we go.

If you can try now, fantastic. Otherwise try it at home or when you won’t be disturbed for a couple minutes. It takes a couple minutes to learn, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to do it in the middle of a heated conversation and nobody will be the wiser.

Take in a deep breath, hold it just a bit, and then exhale. After you exhale, wait a little bit before you inhale again. Wait until you build up a fairly strong desire for oxygen. Then inhale slowly, and as you do so, feel a deep sense of appreciation for the air you are breathing (I said this was hokey, right?). You might need to try this a few times and really feel the gratitude for the air, the oxygen, whose absence would surely kill you must faster than any amount of stress.

Then when your lungs are full, hold it again. And really imagine all the molecules in your lungs greedily extracting the oxygen from the air and transferring it to your red blood cells, to carry and feed your body. Delicious nutritious oxygen food that keeps you alive. Just before you breath out, when you are feeling the gratitude for the gift of life from the air you breath everyday, say to yourself:


and then as you breath out slowly, again say to yourself:


And let it sink in, really sink in that it is up to you to choose all your reactions to the world. All the ways you respond to how people treat you. From your wife of fifty years to the guy that bumped into you on the way to the bus stop. It is up to you to wish things were different, to figure out a way to extract what you want from your circumstances. It is up to you to choose to be a victim, or a victor. It is up to you to feel stressed, or feel relaxed. It is up to you to give in to hypertension, and take bottle after bottle of pills that may or may not work. The choice is, has always been, and always will be yours.




You can practice these three anywhere. Walking, driving, sitting, watching movies, even during sex. The more you practice the easier it gets and the more it will become second nature to you.


Reduce Stress, Improve Life

I was talking to my friend on the phone this morning. She was telling me about her boyfriend. He has one of those jobs where he’s on for three days, and then off for two. It’s great when their days off overlap, but sometimes it can be stressful. It helps that she has studied yoga for a while, and knows several techniques to help her relax when she is stressed out. She tells me there are several different types kinds of yoga, with different intentions. Some are for physical health, others are for spiritual rejuvenation, others are for overall stress reduction.

I think that stress is an under looked at problem in today’s society. Everybody has stress. The problem with stress, is that it goes undetected. It’s a quirk of the human system, either by evolution or some kind of omnipotent creator, that low level pain often gets put into the background of the mind. Acute pain is one of the few outside stimuli that can not be ignored, for obvious reasons. But mental or physical stress, unfortunately is one of those things that can too easily get ignored.

According to doctors and researchers, the biggest problem regarding stress is people that are under unhealthy levels of stress don’t even know it. They go through life, doing the same thing day after day, and not realizing how many problems the stress is causing them because they think its part of their normal life. They have carried the same amount of stress for so long, that it can even become part of who they are. Some can even feel uncomfortable when the stress is removed, because they have identified with it on such a deep level.

I was with a friend of mine on a bike ride a few years ago. His bike was broken, so he borrowed one from another friend. It hadn’t been ridden for a while, but since it seemed to be ok, neither of us gave it any second thought. After a few miles into the ride, my friend began to feel unusually tired. He’s in pretty good shape, so we wondered what the problem might be. Diet? Nope. Not enough sleep? Nope. Girlfriend troubles? Nope. As much as we tried, we couldn’t think of a solution, so we just accepted the fact that he was performing under par that day, and adjusted our speed accordingly. It wasn’t until after we’d completed the ride that we discovered the problem. The rear brake on his bike wasn’t releasing completely when he’d finished breaking. It was causing a slight drag on the bike, making him work just a little bit harder. Instead of a nice relaxing enjoyable ride, we went slow because we just accepted that we had to go slow.

The secret to reducing stress is to find the brakes that are holding you back, and release them. Unfortunately, in today’s society, the most popular solution to stress is to cover up the feeling. Alcohol, drugs. Even if you go to the doctor, you’re likely to get a prescription for drugs to mask the effect, and not address the cause.

The first step in reducing stress is taking an honest look at your life to discover what it is that is causing the stress. Work, family, money, all these can be sources of stress. The biggest cause, however, is worrying about things that you can’t control. Once you realize exactly where the line is between that which you can control, and that which you can’t, you’re on the right track. If you take little steps in the direction of the things that you can control, and release the things that you can’t, you’re well on the way to significantly reducing the amount of stress, and all the accompanying problems.


How to Catch The Big Ones

I went on this fantastic fishing trip once. It was in Mexico, in the sea of Cortez. We hired a fishing boat, captained by an extremely knowledgeable man who knew the waters well. He would drive us to just the spot where we could not only catch really nice sized yellow fin tuna, but experience a plethora of other sea life that we wouldn’t get a chance to experience otherwise. Before then, I had never been deep sea fishing before. I had done plenty of fishing in lakes, and off piers, and in some streams, but never deep ocean fishing where you can expect to catch some really big fish. I wasn’t prepared for the differences in fishing for big fish versus fishing for small fish.

I have a friend that fishes for rainbow trout. He prides himself on his ability to catch a fish, and then release it without doing any harm to the fish whatsoever. He and his cousins get together and have these “hook modification” parties. They systematically go through all their fishing gear, and take all the barbs and elements of the fishing tackle that is designed to keep the fish on the hook. That way, they can remove the hook from the fishes gills without doing any damage. His philosophy is that if you aren’t going to keep it, you might as well make an effort so that you don’t harm it.

Which reminds me of a friend I used to know. He used to study a lot of really esoteric and metaphysically based martial arts. He was telling me that this one class he took, there was a really interesting instructor. He said that the secret to winning in any conflict is to completely detach yourself from the outcome. The reason is, when you have a thought of what you think is coming, your body naturally tenses in expectation, even slightly. What this does is telegraph what you are expecting to the other fighter, and if he has been able to develop enough skill, he will sense your movements. Because he knows what you expect, he knows what to defeat you. This guy said that when you completely release all expectations, you free yourself up to be open for whatever comes. That way your opponent will not be able to read you, and you will actually gain more power. The paradox is at first, when you release expectation, you feel like you are actually giving up power. And this guy said that the most experienced fighters realize the opposite is true. The more you release, the more you receive.

My friend says that the “hook modification parties” are one of the best parts of his yearly fishing parties with his cousins. They get together, hang out, and because they aren’t in any rush they can just relax and share stories and experiences. It’s really fun when you can allow yourself to do that.

Of course, those of you that have been deep sea fishing know that it’s important to let the fish run a bit, then reel him it a bit, then let him run, and then reel him in. You can’t just feel the tug, and immediately reel him in like smaller fish do. If you want to catch the big ones, you have to let their actions dictate how you will bring them in.


Clear the Path for Easy Living

This morning I was browsing in a new bookstore in my neighborhood. It is the kind of bookstore where they have used books as well as new books. Used book stores can be really fun to browse through, because you never know what you are going to find. Sometimes you’ll be looking through, and you will find some books that sort of look interesting, but not interesting enough to buy. Other times you can find things that you are really interested in. This particular bookstore had been only been open a couple of weeks, so they haven’t really built up their inventory of used books yet. They had quite a few new books. Novels, biographies, how to books, and even a few cookbooks. The store itself isn’t that large, so the aisles were pretty crowded, not like other bookstores, where people specifically go there for the open space.

Open space is important, because you need room to move around. I’m been moving around quite a bit in my life. Currently I’m living in my fifth country. It’s interesting how much extra stuff you think is really important that you naturally get rid of when you move as much as I have. I was telling a friend of mine the other day about all the cooking equipment I used to collect, because I really enjoy cooking. So I was in the habit of buying this, and buying that so that when I wanted to cook a really extravagant meal, I had the proper equipment to do so. But because I’ve moved so much, I’ve shed some the extra stuff that turned out to be not so important. A couple of large suitcases is really all you need.

It can be important to periodically take inventory of your life and see what extra baggage you are carrying around that isn’t that important. Or at least isn’t as important as you think it is. Because nothing can slow you down more than extra junk that can clog the precious neural pathways of your brain. When you just relax and release what isn’t important, your life can become easier. When you let go of fears, you can really begin to enjoy the ease with which you can live your life. And it really is a simple matter of shifting your thoughts towards ease and happiness, and away from stress and anxiety. One way to do this is through focused breathing. Another way to do this is through Chi Gong or other slow movement exercises. It’s not important exactly how specifically you choose to do this, rather that you do something on a regular basis that can clear out that which holds you back.

As it turns out, most of the cooking equipment I used to have, I didn’t really need. I can do the same thing that those machines did with creative use of some basic tools. And that can make cooking more fun.

And I’m not exactly sure where they will put all the new used books once they get them, because the shelves and aisles are already filled up with new books. I guess they are really confident that they will get a lot of business, and sell a lot of books. Perhaps their plan is that when people bring in their old books, they can get some money which they will then turn around and use to buy more books. And investing your money in books is a great idea, because learning is one of the greatest rewards in life. 



Walk Away From Stress and Anxiety

Boy are my feet tired. I met some folks this afternoon at a coffee shop downtown. We were lucky enough because we got a couple of tables next to each other. It was really crowded. It’s really lucky when you find something that can help you achieve your accomplishments. The weather was also nice today, as I mentioned in another article. It’s great when good things that are unexpected happen. You can kind of enjoy the realization of the situation, you know?

It’s like my friend, who is training to be a nurse. She has to go to night school to study after her regular nursing shift. Which is kind of busy, because not only is she pregnant, but she has a six year old son, and her husband works full time as well. I don’t know how some people manage. I have enough trouble getting to work on time. But one thing that happened to her was her husband was suddenly promoted. And the extra pay he got was enough to pay for the extra day care they’ll be needing when the second baby decides to show up. So they were pretty happy about that. I think she mentioned what they were going to name the baby.

Sometimes, though, you are just going through life and it seems like you just can’t ever catch up. It seems like whenever one thing stops, another starts right away. And if you get lucky at work, and you have some not downtime, you all of a sudden get flooded with a bunch of other stuff you have to do. My friend who teaches yoga always tells me that the key is to keep focus on the inside. When I asked him about that, he said that no matter what is going on in the outside world, you are in charge of your internal state. You are in charge of whether or not you feel stressed, or feel relaxed. You can choose to feel relaxed whenever you are in a situation that you used to think was stressful. He said that when he is able to practice breathing, he can train his mind to release anxiety whenever it comes up. And he always tells me how useful it is to just take a minute whenever you’re stressed, and just breath deeply, imagine the stress and anxiety going into your breath, and then slowly breath all the stress and anxiety out. He also says that it is a really good idea to do this just before sleep, because you want to release your stress before you fall asleep.

Which is one of the reasons my friend is pretty excited about her baby. She is expecting in about a month or two, I think. She is a great example of a really attentive mother. Whenever she talks about her kids, her face really lights up. I can tell her children are really important to her. And her husband seems like a nice guy as well, although I’ve never met him. You can always tell how strong a marriage is by how well they speak of each other when they’re not around.

And the reason my feet are so tired is because not only did I walk around downtown after the coffee shop, (window shopping,) but I took the train in the other direction and went to a fairly new shopping mall with lots of restaurants, where I walked around a little bit more. I did buy a new pair of walking shoes, which I will try out tomorrow morning when I take my morning walk through the rice fields.


Shifting Road Rage into Scrambled Eggs

The other day I was riding my bike down to the supermarket. I was only going to pick up a couple of things. Dozen eggs, loaf of bread, maybe some peanut butter. I was trying to remember what it was that I was after when a car served just ahead of me, almost knocking me into the light pole. He didn’t even honk or turn and see if I was ok. People like that really make me mad. I get really angry when people are out driving around, and cut people off right and left, without even looking around to see if they are causing any danger to anybody else. It’s like they don’t care if other people live or die. The whole world belongs to them, and you’d better get out of the way. These are the things that can lead to road rage, rights, high blood pressure, and if something like this happens to you in the morning, it can ruin your whole day.

Like sometimes I’ll be driving to work, and the traffic is just totally backed up. And the interesting thing is, is that sometimes there really isn’t a reason for the traffic to be what it’s like. And no matter what you try and imagine, now, it’s hard to come up with a reason for this. And that can be totally frustrating. You are just sitting there, not moving, and you don’t even know why. The radio doesn’t help, they just say try to use this exit, or that exit. But it doesn’t really help because since you aren’t going anyplace, you can’t very well take the next exit anytime in the next three hours.

Which is why I usually bring some audio books in the glove box. I don’t usually like to listen to music in the car unless I’m driving at a reasonable speed. If I’m stopped, and can’t get anywhere, I usually prefer to listen to people talking rather than upbeat music. I’d read the paper if it wasn’t so dangerous. Sometimes I’ll pop in a language tape, sometimes I’ll pop in a lecture. Once I put in a lecture that was about the great tonal shift in the English language. Supposedly it happened about a generation before Shakespeare. Which is interesting because he wrote all these fantastic plays, and was using a language that had recently undergone a drastic change. Had Shakespeare lived a generation earlier, or had the great tonal shift happened a generation later, Shakespeare’s plays wouldn’t be as accessible as they are today. When you find something like this that is really fascinating, and really appreciate the coolness of it, it’s hard not to be amazed at how much stuff there is out there to discover.

Similar to people who make it their life purpose to discover things. Like scientists, doctors, and artists, and certain types of engineers. Some people can get so involved into what they are looking for they seem to use lose track of where they are going. Like when Edison was discovering the light bulb, he burned through about seven thousand different filaments until he found one that would be economically feasible. Because he was able to lose himself in search for new information, and be able to apply it in ways that would help a great amount of people, this tends to happen.

Which is why I enjoy doing things like this. And sometimes I totally lose track not only of time, but of how many eggs I have in the refrigerator. Which is kind cool because sometimes when you run out of eggs, you can find other things that are just as healthy that you hadn’t noticed before. And it’s important to stay healthy, so you won’t have to rush to the hospital, like my neighbor did when he almost hit me. He later apologized, and told me that he didn’t turn around because he knew I was ok, and he knew that he would have plenty of time to apologize later. And I was glad the heart attack he thought he was having turned out to tendonitis, from doing too many pushups.


Make All Things New

Nothing ever new is invented. Or so they say. And they kind of have a point. Harry Potter has been compared to Star Wars, which has been compared to the Wizard of Oz. The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran, has been compared to the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. The Ten Commandments, attributed to Moses, are said to be inspired by ancient laws taken from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

So what’s the point? It’s been said that when you begin to realize you can never really create something completely new unlike anything that has ever existed, it’s kind of comforting. It takes the pressure of. You can easily relax, because you know that building on previous accomplishments can give you a leg up. Many scientists admit they only have gotten where they are by standing on the shoulders of giants that came before them.

And this brings to light an interesting point about human nature. It can be comforting when you realize that all people have similar needs and desires. When you understand that most people really want the same thing underneath, it can make it easy to discover common ground when dealing with others. That is pretty much the basis of all contract negotiation. Discussing what both parties want, and figuring out to satisfy everybody. And in the end, more often than not, you may realize your needs, which you might have thought were far apart, are actually a lot more similar than expected.

On the flip side, of course, is the simple fact that everybody is different. Everybody has their own unique views and experience. You take several people and have them look at an abstract painting, and they all come up with a different interpretation, based on their own history, experience, and emotions. This can make meeting and getting to know new people one of the most wonderful experiences available. The more you expand yourself to seek and experience new ideas, the broader our perspectives grow to encompass things we never dreamed possible.

I was in a strange city once, talking to a friend over the phone. He was giving me directions on how to meet him the next day for lunch. They were fairly complex instructions, involving navigating a strange subway system, going in and out of multiple exits. The fact that all the signs were written in Japanese (a language I didn’t speak at the time) didn’t help. He ended the conversation by saying something surprising. He told me that because there were several subway lines and exits and landmarks to recognize and navigate, it was likely that I’d become lost and confused. He said “And that’s really awesome, because you can realize the opportunity, AND the excuse to talk to and get to know many people along the way.” Before then, I’d never thought that getting lost could be considered an opportunity.

It’s our differences, and out unique perspectives on the same things that everybody shares that gives us such a wonderful opportunity to experience life in new and exciting ways, even if we do the same things and see the same people every day.

How many ways can you find ways to experience something or someone new, today?