I wrote this over a decade ago when we lived in Colorado:
We awakened very early the other morning to our new dog, Hope, running back and forth through the house barking. She does this when someone is approaching the house. We got up and began peering out the window, checking for a skunk in the flowers or a friendly neighbor deciding to visit at the crack of dawn. Nothing.
Hope continued to run back and forth for another ten minutes. We couldn’t figure it out. Now we stepped outside, looked around – still nothing. We were puzzled, so we decided to take this as an opportunity to do some training with her. We pulled out the tiny pieces of turkey (our training approach at the time) and sat down at the kitchen table, rewarding her every time she looked outside and didn’t lose it. She continued to bark. As we were about to give up our quest, I looked out the kitchen window and looked up.
I gasped as I pointed out a magnificent surprise to my family. We all got up from the table and ran outside with Hope by our side jumping about three feet off the ground in excitement. We stood on the back porch and looked up. There were at least twenty-five hot air balloons in the sky right above our house. When we went out previously to look for a skunk or stranger, we never looked up. If we had, we would have seen with great glory what Hope was so excited about.
How often do we look at ourselves, our lives, situations, people in just one way? So often, we can live from one perspective. I have taken to looking around me now. When I am walking to the park, I make it a point to turn around and look behind me. What am I missing in my perspective? There is a whole picture, and often I am looking through one piece of it, which can be severely limiting to me in the ways I live my life.
John O’Donohue talks about it in terms of a castle tower. We are standing in a tower with hundreds of windows all the way up, but many of us choose to look out of only one or two of them. Why? One reason might be because it is comfortable. We get cozy in the way we see and experience things, and to try something new, to peer out another window or look up, brings in newness. If we haven’t been taught that we are safe in the new, we feel afraid, and, very often, we avoid what scares us.
I invite you to look up today. Turn around and look behind you. Look to your left and to your right. There is a wholeness to be discovered, and it is explored by changing direction. Try something new for breakfast. Sit in a new place to read your book. Go for a walk with someone you don’t know well. Breathe into a part of yourself you are not a big fan of. Look up. There is so much surprise and glory to be received when we do.