Connect the dots.
A dog sits in front of a building. The building appears to be a business. The business appears to be selling something from a window. The dog is probably interested in what is coming out of that window. Food is most likely coming out of that window.
A picture tells a thousand words.
Imagine all the ‘frames’ or images/pictures that one is exposed to, or moves through, in a minute of ‘time’, much less the hours in a day. Imagine all the different segments that host different settings, different ‘times of day’ – morning, noon, night, before work/school, after work/school, time spent independent of others, time spent dependent on others: different purposes, different characters, different meaning.
As we move through the segments, or the moments, of a day we can do so in a trance. We can assume so much based on meaning we have attributed to a variety of settings, time – time of day, time of year; characters – the roles each plays, archetypes (the fat guy, the skinny kid, the smart one, the dumb one, the funny one – insert age, gender, race, body composition, hair color, etc etc etc.)
So much intelligence we have within living systems. The intelligence of our cells. The intelligence to categorize. The intelligence to mimic. The intelligence to protect and survive. The intelligence to create. The intelligence of curiosity – to ask questions and to wonder. The intelligence of focus. The intelligence of problem solving. The intelligence of solution finding.
So much intelligence.
Back to the image of the dog sitting in front of the business.
I was scrolling through a series of text messages that included A LOT of visual messages (pictures and short video clips) in a wasted effort to find my neighbor’s internet passcode. As I hurriedly sped through the text stream, I couldn’t help but smile and laugh to myself as I captured the context of mostly senseless, but somuchfun ‘nothingness’, of a relationship that has evolved over time and proximity, between myself and my neighbor – and his dog, Smoosh.
The picture of the dog sitting in front of the business is one I came across while scrolling for the passcode. The message that accompanied the picture: Smoosh angling for ANOTHER treat from the coffee shop. The business was a local coffeeshop near the park that both my neighbor and I visit most days – some days together, most days independent of one another. The park is essential in the context of our story. I have to pass his house to walk to the park. If there was no park, I most likely would not have had so many rendezvous with this neighbor – if not for his front porch, if not for his cute dog, etc, etc.
The context of the picture is wide and deep. I cannot look at the picture without the corners of my mouth growing into a smile – a big smile. The more I consider the picture whether looking at it on my phone or in my mind’s eye, I can grow the smile into a broad, wide, tooth-full, gushing grin that resonates only with pure joy of humorous context the picture brings to me.
Everything has context.
In the preface of Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, she shares how as a child she was taught to understand that people have context. Specifically, she had an older relative that could be distant and calculating. She learned early to assume context – there was more to the story. Even if she and her brother had no idea what the context was, there was still a bigger story – broader context to give meaning.
Life can portray fiction. Life can emulate a movie, a show. Interpreting circumstances, situations, and events through categorical lenses can help one organize information. Attaching definitions to particular ‘roles’ and ‘rules’ supports our subconscious stroll through what is perceived to be ‘everyday life’. The roles and rules change as the segments change.
What happens when we stop being aware of the story we tell and the meaning we place on our perception of ‘context’? What happens when we assume, and assume, and assume based on unexamined ‘rules’ placed on perceived images, or nonstop picture frames? Unexamined rules that fuel behavior – what we say, what we do or don’t do.
The story we tell.
Do our stories capture a broader knowing grounded in possibility? Do our stories resonate with and contribute to connection and meaning? Do our stories contribute to what Martin Seligman has researched to be the scientific theory of happiness: PERMA.
Positive emotions – do our thoughts and feelings mostly contribute to that which is uplifting, or do our thoughts and feelings contribute to a fear based theme?
Engagement – do we spend most of our moments, our time, present with what we are doing, resonating with the moment and having a sensual experience with what is happening? Or are we mostly disengaged, rote, moving through the motions with little engagement to where we are, who we are with – being intentional with how we want to show up and express ourselves?
Relationships – context. Do we allow for our own broader story and the broader story in others, or do we mostly react to dynamics that show up based on unexamined scripts that include rules for roles that we and others play?
Meaning – are we connecting to our own context and spending time growing that which we value and feel pulled toward, or are we striving or forcing ‘meaning’ and giving the power to others, or outside conditions, to derive or define the meaning in our segments, our day to day experience of living?
Achievement – growth. Am I getting better? Do I shift my mindset and attitude to consider context, a bigger picture? Do I allow a broader definition of growth to myself and others? Do I reinforce ‘growth’ as achievement, rather than continue attachment to conditions as a measure of growth (grades in school, a ‘title’ – homeowner/level of education/job status, income, etc).
So much to consider.
The story I tell.
To capture a moment.
To resonate with what is.
So much beauty.
So much love.
Love to give.