There’s a little town we visited during our vacation. Jerome, Arizona is a tiny old mining town nestled on the side of Cleopatra Hill and we love visiting every time we go west. A trip to Jerome begins with a long curly drive with switchbacks that take you up 5,600 feet and your breath away. It’s truly a thrill ride! It has a fascinating history…very Old West…all about copper mining, houses of “ill repute”, guns and horses, bad guys and good guys…the usual; known to be haunted by many of these colorful characters. Today it’s an artsy little Mecca, and home of our favorite barbecue restaurant on the planet aptly named “Bobby D’s BBQ” (my husband is Bob Demetrician), and one of the coolest and most interesting specialty stores I know. Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes is an amazing place, loaded wall to wall with one kaleidoscope after another. Huge ones, stranges ones, colorful ones, tiny ones…one looks like a baseball, one is all about steampunk and crystals, and another is focused on flowers. The store hangs off the side of the mountain and walking all the way to the back of the to their little balcony one is treated to a magnificent view of the red rocks of Sedona in the distance and sky…sky as far as you can see. We usually spend hours there looking into every kaleidoscope as if we’ve never seen it before, always finding something new each time we look. An each time we visit I fall in love with one particular piece and promise myself I will save my money so I can buy one next time we come.
This trip I decided I’d buy myself a personal kaleidoscope. It’s tiny and hangs around my neck from a chain. I’m calling it my “starter kaleidoscope”. I love it. What I love about it and about kaleidoscopes in general is how it gives me a lens through which I can look at ordinary things and see them rearranged in different patterns, mixing up the pieces and changing what I see with every movement and shift in light and setting. I love that I can place this little tiny tube with a specialized bulb at the end up to my eye, turn it ever so slightly, and see the world differently…rearranged…forcing me to look at everything around me differently. And I love that I am the one turning it, and as I look at the amazing interplay of light and color I see a consistent connection between all of the shapes rhythmically unfolding themselves. The magic of the kaleidoscope brings up many different metaphors for how I look at things and how I see them. Certainly one is that there are so many different ways to see one thing or one situation or one event. Another is that “ordinary” and “extraordinary” are a hairsbreath away from each other. And still another…everything…everything is connected.
What I’ve decided to do with my little “starter” is to take time once per hour to stop and look through it. It’s my “mindfulness moment” and each time I do it I feel my breathing slow, my energy soften, and my world expand. It reminds me that I have the power to look at things through a different lens, especially things that are daunting or upsetting. I love my little kaleidoscope. It’s my “starter”. Next time I’ll be getting the bigger one with all the wild colors and lightning bolts. For now, I like having this one around my neck. It’s great practice.
STRETCH: Take time each day to stop and look, really look at what is directly in front of you. Look at the colors, the shapes, the lights and the darks. Then take a few steps to the right or left and look again. What has changed? How are you seeing it differently? Where is the light source now? Have the colors changed? Imagine how you might look at other things differently in your life.