When I was making some purchases at our favorite garden supply shop, I saw a wall decoration that simply had the words “just as the caterpillar thought its world had ended…it became a butterfly.” For most of us, it is so much easier to admire the beauty in the floating and flitting of irridescent butterfly wings than the bulges of voracious caterpillars or the lump on a twig that is a chrysalis. Yet beauty and wonder are there if we see more than a worm. Maddie brought in tiny larvae she found in the garden. We found a glass jar, supplied extra host plants for food, and watched them grow. Jordann, although a bit skeptical at first, became intrigued as she watched the caterpillars eat and eat and eat.
In her book My Grandfather’s Blessings, cancer physician and master storyteller Rachel Naomi Remen quotes Proust by saying that the voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new vistas but in having new eyes. She says that she sometimes suggests to depressed patients that they review the events of their day for fifteen minutes in the evening by asking three questions and writing the answers in a journal. 1. What surprised me today? 2. What moved me or touched me today? 3. What inspired me today? In this chapter, which is titled “Finding New Eyes”, she tells of one patient who told her he answered the questions with “Nothing, nothing, and nothing” in the beginning, but that gradually he realized he was building a capacity he had never used, so that he began to see things differently. Maddie and Jordann have a capacity for seeing that I hope they never loose.
“Most of us lead far more meaningful lives than we know. Often finding meaning is not about doing things differently; it is abut seeing familiar things in new ways…We can see life with the eye, with the mind, with the intuition…But perhaps it is only by those…who have remembered how to see with the heart, that life is ever deeply known or served.”
~ Rachel Naomi Remen