One of the things I like most about flying is the forced perspective change – a reminder that things look remarkably different simply by shifting my vantage point.
There is not only one way to look at the world.
There is not only my way of looking at the world.
At 30,000 feet in the air, everything looks different. Suddenly, those insurmountable mountains seem like tiny hills. You feel both infinitely big, and imperceptibly small and the only thing that has actually changed is your vantage point of the world.
My forced shift in literal perspective makes me wonder what changes can occur in my life with a simple shift in perspective.
When I was a child, I can remember a time that I was over the moon excited to help my mom wash the dishes. Pure joy – in washing the dishes. Washing the dishes was PLAY! That same task now is labeled a chore. An annoyance. Something I have to do. Something that does not elicit joy. But what has really changed? Not much really, except my definitions attached to the task. Even the word chore is so negatively charged, implying an unpleasant or routine task.
In our brain’s quest to become efficient, it forms patterns and pathways so things become second nature to us. Tasks become muscle memory. As we do tasks like washing the dishes over and over, we become mindless while doing them. While this frees up our minds to perform other tasks simultaneously, the joy is sucked out of the original activity.
Living out of pattern does not spark joy.
What would happen if we stripped away the labels of chores, if we pretended it was our first time doing the dishes? What if we concentrated on the sensation of warm water running over our hands, the way our hands dance over the dishes, cleaning them so we can enjoy future meals on them. What if chores were no longer chores, but play all over again?
And what implications does this have in our lives when we can apply these same principles to other tasks we label as chores or mundane? What would happen if we were completely present in both body and mind in our daily activities?
The world might look a whole lot different – even with both feet planted firmly on the ground.