August 14, 2022
Today was my first post-covid day out in the world. I went to Mingo Creek and just sat on a boulder next to the stream, not a human in sight.
The creek was low, muddy-looking, gray and brown. I looked upstream - it was so shallow that I could have walked on rocks for a couple of miles without getting my feet wet. Not very picturesque.
But then. I have been thinking about the old Magic Eye pictures from back in the 1990's - did you know that the Magic Eye phenomena is almost 30 years old!?!? Do you remember gathering around a picture with family and friends, squinting and wiggling and jiggling your eyes to see the magic picture that everyone else claimed to be seeing beneath what was obvious?
It took effort to see what wasn't obvious - concentration, patience, intentionality, and a certain tolerance for frustration. And then! Yay! Most of us could get there and see it!
So today I did the squinting and the wiggle jiggle to see what else might be there, beyond the silty brown water and gray rocks. As always, always, with quiet concentration there was more there than I initially saw. Look at the photo above. The russet leaf glistening with creek water. The speckled reflection of the green leaves from the trees above. And my favorite here, on the left side of the photo, a tiny tiny jewel with just a speck of the blue sky showing up. See if you can see it.
Last week, I went to my 50th high school reunion in Lexington, KY - or really the 51st because last year had been cancelled because of Covid. (We won't talk about how many of us came away this year with the dreaded virus anyway.)
One of the first people to greet me when I walked into the event space was P, a boy I had known since first grade. I recognized him right away as he stood with arms open - the shy dimpled smile - I saw him through the wrinkles, weight, and weathering that we all brought into the room. P and I didn't run with the same crowds, but we KNEW each other. Grew up in the same general neighborhood, had the same teachers and classmates. We talked about our lives - I heard about his happy marriage of over 40 years, and saw pictures of his new grandbaby. As we parted to greet other old friends, a guy at my elbow murmured to me - "You know he voted for X."
I almost laughed out loud with joy as I realized that, not once in our conversation had the question of P's politics - or his religion, for that matter - even entered my mind. I admit that those questions do often rise in my mind in my "real grown-up life" where silos are begging for our membership and are working to exclude others deemed not fit to join. It was such a liberating feeling.
I have been wondering about using the Magic Eye technique in the real world, wiggling and jiggling my perceptions until I can see the beauty that lies under the surface, until I can see the surface for what it is but also the human underneath with its stories and quirks, joys and woes. Until I can see all of it. In the US in particular, I think, it takes such intentionality, concentration, patience, and, I would add, an open heart, generosity, and humility to do this.
Using the Magic Eye with love doesn't mean you suddenly adopt the other's beliefs and practices. I will still support, and advocate and vote for, causes and candidates that promote what, in my mind, brings greater equity and equality in education and health care, compassion and care for our children and elderly, dismantling of harmful "-isms," and care for our Earth, our Common Home.
What the intentional wiggling and jiggling of my perceptions means for me is that I can see and treasure the complexity in all of us, can hold all with compassion, as worthy of dignity and respect, with the love that all deserve.
Right now I don't want to know who you vote for, what candidate's poster is in your front yard.
I don't want to know what house of worship you attend, if any.
Just hush for a minute and breathe.
Remember - and show us - who you are.
I want to hear about who you were in second grade, fifth, freshman year in high school.
What piqued your interest, in or out of school?
What charged you up and made you happy?
What brought you down, utterly bored you, scared you, made you sad?
Such big feelings.
Did you have a friend who had your back no matter what, no questions asked?
Did it take more time to find that person who really "got" you?
Are you still on the lookout for that one?
They will come. You are worth it.
Who was your first love? Did you pass notes in class?
Spin around and around with abandon at the winter dance?
Drive down green rutted roads to just...
Sweet sweet times.
Of friends, family members, pets, jobs, homes and familiar places.
Can you taste that early loss and remember what you felt and learned from it?
Does it sometimes still feel new and raw to you?
And has the loss - or even betrayal - been so awful that you have noticed bitterness or anger or enormous deep deep sorrow trying to make - or succeeding in making - a nest in your heart, just setting up home right there before you know it?
Don't worry, you can take it apart and scatter it to the winds when you are ready.
Have you lost your way at some point, gotten off track?
Do you have regrets in your heart?
We all have.
Have you found your way back?
You always can, you know. Don't give up.
And you don't have to do it alone.
Who do you love now, who would you lay your life down for, whose voice lightens your heart or calms you down?
Hold them in your vision, in your soul, in your arms, and feel that love.
Remember your dreams way back then.
What dreams did you have?
Have they come true?
Did they change?
They almost always do.
HOW have your dreams changed?
How have YOU changed?
What are your dreams today?
What are your dreams today?
You are still allowed to dream.
with love, mb