("The Open Window, Collioure" -- 1905, Henri Matisse)
When was the last time you took most of the day off and indulged your cravings, laid on the couch with a light read in your hand, so light that it literally refreshed your mind, making you fall asleep only to be later waken up by a cold breeze that suddenly invaded your room?!
That's what I did. I gave myself a gift, with no special occasion, just a break from my daily routine. After that, I cooked a sweet dessert, French toast with farmer cheese and strawberries -- if you have not tried it, you really have to.
Then things fell into place. The taste of the strawberries, together with the cheese, has made some connections in my brain that brought back memories of past experiences and new lusts of life. At once, I felt like going to a Rod Stewart concert and, although I won't be able to do it very soon, I did some research to find out where he will be performing and bought myself tickets. Well, now I have a plan, an agenda and the thought of going to the concert and having an event ahead makes me feel that my days are spent usefully. A small daily pleasure for ourselves, for our soul, boosts our self-esteem and helps us keep the hope of our dreams. It brings back a natural serenity on your face and reminds you of your beautiful inner smile, the one kept hidden inside that is often pushed down lower to the depths of your soul by your worries.
I have told to several colleagues about going to this concert and found other people who would also like to see Rod Stewart perform. I have companions! I discovered people that I didn't know very well, but talking about this concert made us discover common interests, and I even realized that I was on the same page with many of them. The concert has become a mini-holiday, for if we go over there, it would be better to stay an extra day to visit the surroundings. Oh, I forgot to mention that the concert will take place in Brighton, U.K.
There are so many possibilities around us; it all depends on every individual's choice to have a positive outlook in life or, if he doesn't, at some point he will not find his way out anymore. We all wish for a bright future. In my opinion, only the severely depressed imagine a gloomy future for themselves, being strangled by the "serpents" and "dragons" of their own minds.
Sometimes our wishes come true; other times things simply do not go as we would like them to. Who didn't fail at least once in his life? These are not tragedies, they are hardships. You keep on trying your best until you succeed. This reminds me of what my junior high school math teacher used to tell us: "Every problem has a solution; you just need to find the method to solve it."
But it is all about the way we "look" at things. Our differences lie not only in our appearance, but also in the way we perceive things. For example, I do not know how many of us see women as Picasso did. He had a particular way of doing it. Or how many of us can feel music as Mozart did, by writing his symphonies in his mind. Apart all these so-called "technical" differences, there are those by which we choose. We choose to be sad or happy. We become happy or sad as a result of the choices we have made. Not everything depends on bad luck or misfortune, but rather on the fact that we do not succeed to "exploit" the possibilities around us; it relies on every person's imagination, perseverance and willingness to take action.
We get stuck in a "tunnel," and thus our senses degenerate. We are no longer paying attention to details, to everything that surrounds us, and we are no longer capable to make connections based on information to take the best decisions for us, as individuals. Sometimes, a minor detail can radically change a situation. Do you remember the World Bank chief who, when he had to take his shoes off due to the protocol, had his socks torn? This detail completely changed many people's perception of the man we could see on TV. This detail was an obvious one, but are we as keen to perceive and interpret people's gestures, grimaces and looks for our own good? These aspects are vital in the formation of a wise and correct opinion. Occasionally we fall into the trap by focusing only on a single detail that catches our attention, inhibits or fascinates us (this usually happens when we fall in love), forgetting to take a good look around.
In order to be "active" to what happens around us, we need to have imagination. Imagination should not be only the artists, publicity campaign leaders, play writers or directors' strength. It is true, sometimes, having a wild imagination can make you lose grip of reality or, more than that, keep you from enjoying the present, carrying you on its wings. Even though you might consider yourself to be less imaginative than others, do not lose hope. Imagination can be regained through exercise. Read more, but not on the screen, read on paper -- studies have shown that a text read on paper is better memorized and understood than a text in electronic format. Paint, draw -- even if you are not talented. It is like math exercises: Your senses will activate in time. Compose songs and make video or photo collages that you took during holidays spent with your family or friends. There are plenty of books on this subject; for sure you will find one that will teach you how to do it.
In conclusion, our perception of things is what makes our life to be better or worse. We make choices according to what we perceive and then process it as information. After making our choices, we make decisions, express opinions, taking sides. Very often this is how conflicts, wars, but also beautiful friendships, relationships, love, successful holidays begin, based on what we first perceive, process as information and then as decision.
So, pay attention to what you see!