Driving to work this morning, stuck on a rain-sodden road and in the sweep of the windscreen wipers, my mind was racing ahead to the days challenges. The usual tsunami of information was running through my brain and I found myself making decisions about who I would be speaking to and what I would be saying to them. Essentially thinking about how to manage the various situations and challenges I would face later in the day. I was totally ‘in the zone’. I’d guess if I would have measured my blood pressure and heart rate they would have been elevated already, and I hadn’t even got to work.
Then I saw a rainbow.
It had a mathematically perfect curve and the most clearly delineated colours I ever remember seeing in the sky. Against the back drop of the flat, gun boat grey sky, it was quite startling.
And it made me wonder.
I mean literally wonder. Wonder at its beauty and the power nature has to take our breath away when we least expect it. I also wondered how many people trapped in their lives sped past it this morning and missed it. Tied up with getting the kids to school, or arranging the days tasks into some semblance of mental order. Tied up in the objectives of the morning, day, week, month. Dreaming or planning, worrying or fantasizing, how many of us missed this picture of perfection, a fleeting moment of exquisite natural poetry?
And how many more do we miss? How much of what life and the world have to offer simply passes us by unnoticed? That set me to thinking. Why do we do it? The stuff we do. The rushing about, the stress, the stretch. Why? Whats in it for us?
A better life? More money? Or maybe its about not having enough money? Isn’t keeping a head above water infinitely more stressful that striving for so-called ‘self actualisation’? Maybe you don’t even have an objective or a grand plan in mind, maybe its just the chaos that life and kids and work inevitably bring that traps you in this web of tension and rushing.
Because trapped is what we get. Swept along with it all. We look up and take stock and whole years have passed by. We ask ourselved these questions all the time – Do you know its 6 weeks since I last went to the gym? Was it really 5 years ago your kids were born? Did we first move in together 10 years ago? Have we honestly know each other for 25 years?
Blink, and its gone. Never to be got back.
As the great Ferris Bueller once said:
‘Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it’
Set all your plans aside for a minute. And take a breath. What makes you happy? I’m talking really ridiculously, childlike happiness. What puts you in the flow? What is it that puts you in the ‘flow’ and allows you to feel alive? Even if it’s just a moment in time, a brief moment of perfection, just for you.
A walk through the woods? A favourite piece of music? A book that transports you to another universe?
Maybe it’s a person? An old friend you don’t spend nearly enough time with, or maybe closer to home, your husband or wife. When was the last time you did stuff together, just to hang out. Not to achieve something, just to be together, like when you were kids.
The best for me personally? Is to take time with to play with the kids – not teach, or instruct or guide or read with or to, or practice music or football or dance or whatever else they do – stuff like all parents feel they have to do to be good parents, I mean just time to play.
Dress up, run around, fall over, climb trees, build things, knock things down, get dirty, be gross, get down to their height and look at the world like a child again. Laugh. Laugh like you never have to do anything else ever again.
Or whatever. Take time to fill yourself back up. Remember why you strive and fight in the first place and reward yourself every now and again.
Make time for rainbows.
And here, just because its one of cinemas most awesome scenes ever – Ferris Bueller does Twist and Shout – take two minutes to smile at it!