Seeing with Clear Eyes
I could also say seeing with fresh eyes, or open eyes, or appreciative eyes. That's how it seems when we take a break from our routine, regular day-to-day activities. Distance provides a perspective that serves to clarify. Exposed to new and different circumstances allows for expansion. Our curiosity is aroused to inquire, admire, question and value.
Without prior experiences or expectations, we are able contemplate and embrace greater diversity and possibilities not yet thought of. The benefits of such a shift in perspective is equally applicable to the importance of taking vacations, as it is to dealing with difficult situations at work or in the family.
Value of Taking a Break
I've just returned from a two week vacation in Tuscany, Italy, where the landscape is a textured tapestry of verdant vineyards, silky grey olive groves, sunburnt fields stockpiled with hay bales, paddocks of sunflowers stretching tall and wide, remote stone farm houses surrounded by slender poplars, walled townships with bell towers, forts and castles perched high on the hill tops all around. It is pure sensory overload.
When traveling to new place (literally or metaphorically), do you surrender to the delight of new discoveries? I do; and even if they jolt my sensitives, they are at best a new experience, or at worst an opportunity to revisit an old pattern, which to me is what life is about – embracing all experiences and deciding what sense to make of them. I am reminded of:
“In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few.” – Shunryo Suzuki-Roshi
Experiencing new environments combined with the mindset of being open to possibilities, we expand and enrich ourselves to what is new and unfamiliar. When we stick to what is what is known and comfortable, such as when we impose our modus operandi in a foreign context, it can lead to disagreement, frustration, annoyance, and disappointment. With a beginner's mind and an appreciative eye, our relationship with the world shifts: we are opened to many possibilities; we see in new ways, we inquire from interest and curiosity; we listen respectfully.
One practical reflection from my Tuscany break is to apply my awareness of a beginner's mind and an appreciative eye to developing greater tolerance of learning new technologies – when I get frustrated, I need to take a break and then come back with clear eyes. What are some of your personal insights about the value of taking a break?