While driving the other day something was brought to my attention. When I am behind the wheel, I am fully engaged in the task. I am paying attention. I am present. Don't get me wrong, I realize that once in awhile I am on auto-pilot but for the most part I am living in the here and now. I check-in with the status of my vehicle making sure that everything is in order and working properly. Does the vehicle have sufficient gas for the journey, are the lights working, engine running, seat belts on? I will continue to check-in throughout our drive. How's my speed, checking mirrors, how are the kid(s). But more importantly while driving, it is essential that I am aware of, and responding to what is happening outside of my own vehicle and its surroundings. I must pay attention to (in no particular order) the roads (including its potholes the size of craters), construction, pedestrians, bicycles, other vehicles and drivers, the elements, the signals. We must pay attention to the signs. What if, when we were not in our vehicles we decided to enforce the same discipline, engage the same rules? What if we heightened our senses and decided to become more aware of the signs? What would happen if we connected and reacted with others like we do when we are behind the wheel? What if we were fully aware of one another? Paying attention to movements, gestures, looked one another in the eye, made way, worked in harmony. Became present.
That brought me to thinking about smoke and mirrors. How we present ourselves. How we allow others to see us. How we want others to see us. How we present ourselves to the world. Many of us have not only built walls, we have created an 'alter ego' of sorts. The person that we present to the world, to 'the show'. Kind of like the Wizard in 'The Wizard of Oz'. When Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin man and Cowardly Lion get their first glimpse of the Wizard he presents himself as the awe inspiring, larger than life, completely unapproachable great and powerful Wizard of Oz. They are so distracted by his 'show' (smoke and mirrors) that they are completely unaware of their surroundings. It is Toto the dog who finally pulls at the curtain to unveil the real, very human individual who demands they "PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!". And well, you know the rest. Turns out it is the man, not the Wizard who has the real gifts to offer.
What if we allowed others behind the curtain? What if we just tore them down? What if we allowed people in. What if we actually saw one another? What if we came out from behind the curtain?
If we are not mindful we will find ourselves completely consumed by the attempt to keep our 'alter ego' look at me I have everything together appearance, in order. If we are distracted by the smoke and mirrors we are missing what may really be going on in our lives. If we could kick down those walls and tear down those curtains maybe we could really see one another. We could share our gifts and lift each other up. Perhaps even discover that we already are living over the rainbow.