Last summer, Tony and I spent 6 amazing days in Rome. When we travel, we like to walk around and discover the new city….. foot-loose and fancy free. No plan, just a sense of adventure and possibility. We walked down endless cobble-stone-alleys…lined with small shops and cafés…. inevitably and suddenly finding ourselves in a grand piazza with a massive fountain or a 100 foot tall obelisk in the middle of it. We would seek out a small café, order an espresso or a bottle of wine..… search through our Rick Steves travel book and find out exactly where we had landed. The pace was slow and delicious on every level.
About half way through our trip we came upon Piazza del Popolo, the largest and most exciting piazza in all of Rome. There were hundreds of people milling around, sitting at the decidedly Egyptian influenced Flaminio Fountain with its impressive and giant lions. In the center of the fountain rose the Flaminio Obelisk. The sun was rising behind it, blinding me as I sought to get a view of the top. I shaded my eyes, squinting to get a glimpse.
An eclectic selection of street performers entertained the masses… magicians, jugglers, musicians and acrobats. It was captivating and exciting. We stayed in the piazza for about an hour, taking it all in…..or at least I thought I was taking it all in……
We headed forward towards the Porta del Popolo, a giant structure with several massive wooden doors. It opened onto a large multi-lane intersection. Just before we passed through the doors…… for no particular reason at all, I turned around to look back over the piazza.
And that is when I saw them for the first time. The famous and beautiful twin churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto. My jaw dropped in awe. They were massive…….beautiful……..the sight literally took my breath away.
They were behind me the whole time and I almost missed them!
Something began to shift inside of me as I wondered……
“ what else have missed over the last 40+ years?”
The most beautiful moments can happen just outside of our focus.
Take the time to look around…..pay attention
……look again….be curious…Life isn’t limited to 90’ angles…
And for goodness sake, Turn around……..
it is easy for insights to fade into the background as everyday life happens….
………as my life happens…….
Last weekend, I went on a 6 mile hike in Palm Springs.
3 miles in………..turn around………. 3 miles back.
As we walked, I said to my friends, “I prefer a loop because then there is always something new to see rather than just turning around and going back the way I came.”
My friend casually responded, “ya…..but it usually looks really different going the other way.”
Instantly, I was reminded of the twin churches in Rome and all the insights came rushing back to me.
…..Turn around…….pay attention….look again….be curious……
When we turned around and headed back, the path was indeed different, and I have to say, I was once again surprised.
The wind was different, the sun was higher, the grade was different, we climbed down instead of up, we passed people heading in, and now we were the ones coming out…I had more than I did when I started…..EVERYTHING had CHANGED….AND NOTHING had CHANGED…
By nature, I am a “move forrward” kind of girl. Eyes on the prize….Focus on what’s ahead of me…keep going…..jump and don’t look back……commit fully to the path ……
I need to be reminded….and today I am reminding you….
Life happens in 360 degrees
not 90 and not even 180.
The twin churches and this “in and out” hike are simple metaphors for living.
Do you ever take the time to walk back the way you came and see it with new eyes? Do you turn around to see what you may have missed coming in?
What looks different? What FEELS different? Collect, appreciate and integrate your whole experience. Maybe, if for no other reason than to see how far you have come….how much you have changed….or how much another person has grown……..
and maybe, just maybe….this holiday season…..as you find yourself back home…. gathering with family…..
look with new eyes, a fresh view…..
you might discover that little something about someone you love……. that changes EVERYTHING you believed to be true.
LIVING ON PURPOSE
One Daily Shift at a time.
I practice it.
I coach it.
I invite you to join the MyDailyShift Community
All my love and gratitude,