Explore the World Around You

I'm not big on musicals. 

This is sometimes a problem for my family, who loves to pop in The Sound of Music or the latest Disney adapted broadway to hollywood sing and dance film. So when it came time for me to gut up and accompany my wife and her parents to go see Into the Woods, I politely obliged even though I'd rather to go see something violent or crude and funny. I wasn't expecting much, and to be honest, I wasn't disappointed in most aspects (I admit I don't have that best taste in movies). There was, however, one moment that utterly captivated me. 

The film's rendition of Jack and the giant beanstalk was probably my favorite of the film's many plots (outside of the princes' vanity). There was something about watching Jack fly down the beanstalk with a bird's eye perspective on his home, and for the first time seeing so much mystery in his world. Until he had a view from the top, a view that he had never had before, he never realized how much there was to discover. 

And you scramble down and you look below and the world you know begins to grow. The roof. The house. And your mother at your door. The roof. The house. And the world you never thought to explore.
— Into the Woods

I've recently recommitted myself to learning Spanish.

This time I'm excited because I've finally found something that works for me, and I've discovered how powerful it can be to learn a new language. This is not just because of the impact it has on introducing me to new cultures, but how it reveals the intricacies of my own language. It is a whole new world I never thought to explore because I've always been immersed in English. But now that I'm questioning why the Spanish language uses certain colloquial phrases and sentence structures, I've also begun to wonder why English does the same. It is a study in the power of language to shape action and culture. 

Now, because I tend to bring my wanderings full circle, I usually end up in the world of mental and relational health. Ever wonder why so many people suffer with anxiety, why we subject ourselves and our relationships to affairs, or why so many of us fall victim to the belief that we, our relationships, or our worlds are simply not enough? 

I'm not one to believe in a single answer for any one problem or challenge, but I know that our tendency to constantly need more has to do with what Brene Brown calls a scarcity-culture. We don't have enough ___________.

This belief in our own scarcity tends to make us do silly things. It also blinds us to the overwhelming abundance around us. What amazes me is that sometimes it takes a whole new perspective to discover that abundance, where closed opportunities lead to open doors. Perhaps the relationship you're in is ripe with romance that simply needs to be cultivated. Perhaps within you, you might be surprised to discover the qualities you covet, which you so easily identify in others. 

What would you find if you explored the world around you?

Would you be surprised to discover the hope and fulfillment you've been searching for in ways that seem destructive? Would you be inspired by the person in the mirror? In the next few weeks, make an active effort to replace skepticism with curiosity. Re-evaluate the rigid beliefs you may hold about yourself or your relationships. You may be surprised by what you find.

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