When we stumble upon a new definition.
To define something seems a serious endeavor, but we urgently pursue definitions, and are quick to apply them. Our process for defining the world as we come into contact with it and others, and interact, feels rigid.
Consider how we arrive at places when we travel: we've heard the name of the place and it conjures some vague expectations of the experience that awaits; we've seen the place from afar, we've heard friends and families describe it, we've likely read some strangers’ lists about attractions and meals. But is there anything as invigorating as the anticipation of arriving at a new place? Can we ever really explain the experience of arriving, exploring, and leaving somewhere new? Will we even share our reflections as we return home, having left the old version of ourselves behind, knowing we won’t be able to fully communicate the impact?
The definitions that rule our everyday have changed, how do we share that? How do we begin to understand the new words and routine, the new eyes we see through, the new desires and cravings? It all sounds a little silly if we were to admit to the monumental shift that happens as we leave home and are transformed in mere days and weeks. Can we really undergo transformation in such a short period? But honestly, to ignore this potential for change feels even more ridiculous, no?
Consider what happens when we board a plane, or hit the road, or hop on a train: we are transported elsewhere. Very quickly we are somewhere else, surrounded by new people, breathing new air, in an environment that is completely foreign, new sights and sounds and smiles, new greetings, new ways of walking down the street, new methods of communication, new inflections on routine words that render them unrecognizable, new tastes?
How can we not embrace the possibility to become someone new? To redefine our everyday? To redefine the basics? To be surprised by the new routine?
We can always go back. But even if we recoil, even if we decide we like our coffee our way, isn't there something transformative about that discovery and the new definition and the accompanying awareness? Isn’t that a calming arrival at some new piece of ourselves?
Regardless of where we settle, how we apply known definitions or completely redefine the very fabric of our reality, we are learning more about this world, and our place in it.
And we come to understand that no name or definition, no experience, no opinion, nothing is permanent. What we think we know about ourselves and others is open to spontaneous and holistic transformation.