"No, impassible. Nothing’s impossible!"

by Rebecca A. Watson on October 17, 2009

in community, imagination, life, perception

Jim, a 78-year-old man, showed up at my door today to say hello and that he grew up in what I now call my home. I invited him in and he told me about a secret room behind my closet (exploration time, anyone?) and where he buried his dog. His parents had the house built. He said he lived here during World War II and when there were blackouts, they would eat by the light of the refrigerator.

I’m a sucker for good stories, so it was a welcome intrusion, to say the least.

Today also happens to be the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake, which shook (literally and figuratively) much of California to the core. I’ve seen monuments to the catastrophe here but not being local, mostly I remember it as something that happened during (of course) playoff baseball.

Perspective and time are such amazing things, aren’t they? One person can look out a window and see empty fields where he dug caves and hid coins, and I see a neighborhood full of people going about their business. To me, a closet holds clothes; to him–secret meetings with the neighbor kids. In my world, the earthquake was pictures and newscasts. To others, it seemed to be the end of the world.

I often wax poetic about different planets and dimensions, wondering when we will be able to travel to and from and through them. But doesn’t that already exist in the world we live in today? If we open our minds and look through other people’s eyes, Mount Everest doesn’t look so tall. And the oceans seem only a pond.

Perhaps our version of time travel is too narrow. What if we simply listened and lived through other people’s stories. I mean really listen without our own experiences coloring theirs? Could we travel back in their memories? Can we exist somewhere else simply by letting go?

If this is true, then maybe we can do whatever we want to do. That looming project at work might not seem so taxing after swimming the English Channel. Writing that book would seem less daunting after witnessing your plays performed on stage. For those times when we’d rather not get out of bed, we could remember a life where we could not walk at all.

I’m not proposing we don multiple personalities or lose our own. I’m suggesting that maybe if we let go of our egos and allow our souls to truly listen and move, we can accomplish anything. We are all connected, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could learn the easy way for once? I think it’s very possible.

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