The wonder of life through defamiliarization

Today… well this morning I suppose. There was a storm the likes of which I haven’t seen for at least a year.

I stood out in it with my arms spread, face facing the sky as it poured out its anger in rain, flashes and deep booms. I gave myself to wetness and the wind and the violence but after a while I went back inside, closed the door, forgot the wonder and made a tea.

Now I’m sat here, dry and comfortable; faced with the familiarity of Facebook and the everyday comfort and security of home.

I’m thinking “If this situation, this mundane, run-of-the-mill, everyday situation had never occurred for me before would I not stand in awe at the very presence of a cup and a table?”

Those flashes and booms – spectacular though they were – are only special because they rarely happen; they are to all intents and purposes novel events. Sure I have experienced a storm before; but not for a long time.

So this time, standing outside with my friend Ethan as Daisy gazed down upon us from Ethan’s bedroom window was the first time.

What lesson did I hear in the flashes and bangs? Defamiliarize, defamiliarize, defamiliarize!

Casually stroll through life as if you’d never seen any of it before and you’ll see the wonder that’s just waiting there to be unlocked by a particular way of gazing, smelling, touching, tasting or listening.

Stand quietly and imagine you’d never breathed before and feel the joy that just being alive brings, that just breathing brings.

Living is a beautiful thing all the time; we just get caught up in the trivialities; in mere trifles of problems that won’t matter tomorrow or in a weeks time.

They certainly won’t matter when you’re laying on your last bed! You’re possibilities limited to whether you’re going to shit in the colostomy bag now or hold on for a bit longer; whether you’re going to ring the bell just so you can ogle the curves and breasts of the young nurse on duty.

Will anything matter to us then about what happened now?

So why not forget the trivialities and gaze upon your kingdom; see how bizarre everything really is; see how it could be any other way but it’s not; it’s the way it is.

See that wherever you are you are in a truly novel situation; you are on the cutting edge of your life; you don’t need to travel (though that would be fun) to find wonder; it’s right before you all the time almost bursting with its suppressed excitement; like a child tugging at his parents attention saying “Look at me! Look at what I can do! Look at what I am!

“See look: Red, sound of distant traffic as the human world wakes up, feel the keys on my keyboard, smell your home, taste the bitter coffee that you don’t like the taste of and delve into the taste and see that its distastefulness is a part of all the wonder that forever surrounds us but is hidden by familiarity! Live every moment of your life playing pretend that it’s the first moment of your life because then I’ll show you who I really am!”


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