Up or Down

An elderly friend called some time ago. Recently, because of stability issues, Patrick relies on the help of a cane. He told me that the nurse had to instruct him by saying, "Don't look down when you walk!"

It must be quite a change: 80 years walking without assistance, putting one foot in front of the other... and you wake up one day and have to learn to lean on a stick for mobility. I can't remember the first time I skated, but I can imagine how often I looked down at my feet. When my father took the training wheels off my bike, I was ecstatic; but I was apologetic and embarrassed when I slammed into the back bumper of a parked car on the street because I was looking down.

At times we'll ask someone who appears sad, "Why are you looking so down?" When I was taking counseling classes, some fellow students would make fun of psychology as "navel-gazing", or looking too much inwards. But perhaps there is some truth to that. What I've learned from Life is that there is so much to miss if you don't look up and around.

Sure, there's a place and time for looking down (at your self) and behind (where you've come from). But Life is so full of teachers and lessons, gifts and surprises, new experiences and constant reminders... looking down can--well--get you down! The ostrich may never see unpleasantness, but she doesn't see reality either. A wise teacher once wrote: "How you see is what you see." Do you see? If not, look up!