I admired how the water looked like glass it was so calm on an early morning bike ride. Just then, I saw a line of fish jumping and then a line of cormorants emerged from the water behind them. There were over 30 birds lined up perfectly to act like a giant net. They were diving and fishing and the fish were jumping up and into the air ahead of them. As the fish jumped, the terns who had their eyes wide open, started diving into the jumping fish. Then the pelicans joined the feast of diving, jumping, swimming, and eating. They all had their eyes wide open and so did I.
Can learning to have our eyes wide open in nature help us in transitions?
What are some ways that you have had your eyes wide open lately? As I surveyed my recent experiences two examples came to mind.
First, a project called Eldera came across my desk early last year. This intergenerational program brings an adult mentor and a child together. I had thought I was too busy to participate but when I heard there was a young girl who wanted to be an entrepreneur and needed a mentor, I said, count me in! Here was an opportunity for two people of very different ages and stages to have our eyes wide open together. We can learn and think together.
My second example is about a citizen scientists project at Hawk Ridge.
Hawk Ridge, in Duluth Minnesota, is a place where bird watchers convene to watch, marvel and count hawks as they race south down the shores of Lake Superior. This fall was no different and there were over 50 bird watchers counting hawks flying south down the ridge line of Lake Superior. As I looked over at their data chart I saw: Daily Count “10,335 Broad Wing Hawks”. I walked over to a host and asked…did you really see over 10,000 of just that breed of hawk today? “Yes” he responded. Of course my immediate question was ‘how do you know you were not counting the same birds over and over?’
His explanation on updrafts, the winds, and currents assured me that these birds are so motivated to get south that they don’t circle back to the ridge line. They just keep moving south. Eyes wide open? Indeed, and collective eyes contributed to a citizen scientist program document migrating birds.
What comes to mind for you?
“Eyes wide open” is also a great skill for navigating transitions. Transitions are a time to reflect on our current activities and seek new opportunities. Yet, we often enter into these explorations independently or with a narrow focus of should and have to lists. Our eyes are not always wide open. We even get overwhelmed by too many options. Eyes wide open means shifting your lenses to imagine what’s possible? what’s my calling? what’s my purpose? what would bring me abundance and joy? Spending time with others in this exploration is a great way to narrow your focus.
Widen to start your exploration and narrow to focus in on what will truly bring joy and meaning to your life. Perhaps it’s mentoring and citizen scientist projects. What captures your eyes? attention?
What would be possible if you and I had our eyes wide open together? What would we discover? What changes could we make in our communities? ourselves? our worlds? Let’s talk.
Until then, enjoy viewing the world with your eyes wide open in nature and see how it helps you navigate your transitions.