If you’ve read this column before, you’ve read about our grandson, Boone. Boone is an independent, introspective five-year-old. It might be his age, or his status as middle child, or something embedded in his DNA, but there’s something about Boone that seems to keep the adults around him either holding their breath with awe or locking their jaw with tension. Recently, it was tension.
A few weeks ago, our daughter and her husband went away for the weekend and Boone’s Iowa grandparents came to stay with him and his siblings. Boone’s parents advised the grandparents that Boone might benefit from “quiet time” in his room where he may or may not sleep, so in the afternoon Grandma and Grandpa obliged. Boone went to his room, laid on his bed and his door was softly closed. Sometime later, Grandma decided “quiet time” seemed a little too quiet and went to Boone’s room to investigate. She quietly moved to open the door, afraid to wake him in case he had truly fallen asleep, but the door handle held firm. It was locked from the inside.When my daughter told me this story, this is where she paused and said, “Mom, tell me what you would have done?” Well, clearly, I would have panicked a little. It wasn’t until our kids were much older and the statute of limitations had run out on their offenses that they confessed to sneaking out of their bedrooms after hours to hang out with friends, or slipping out third story windows for the thrill of it. But the other grandma kept her cool. She began knocking on the door and calling out to Boone, but he didn’t answer. The help of grandpa was enlisted and they got the door open without too much trouble, but Boone was not in his bed. He wasn’t playing with Legos on the floor or sitting in the chair reading a book. Instead, they noticed the second story window in Boone’s room was open and they found him comfortably perched outside on the roof.
Boone was in a bit of a pickle. His grandparents were equal parts upset and relieved when they discovered him on the roof, but when his parents returned home there was firm scolding and appropriate punishment (to Boone, not his grandparents). By the time my husband and I heard the story everyone had calmed down and new rules were in place. No more hanging out on the roof. But we couldn’t resist asking Boone about his adventure while on the phone with him that night. “Boone, why did you go out on the roof?” my husband asked him. “Cause I wanted to see what things looked like from up there,” he answered. And then he hung up the phone. End of discussion. I’m guessing he had tired of answering such a silly question.
From his roost on the roof, I’ll bet the trees in Boone’s yard looked different. Maybe not as big and imposing. Possibly he noticed birds’ nests that weren’t visible from the ground. I’ll bet he saw sticks in the eaves or maybe a stray toy or two that had “accidentally” been slung to the shingles from the back yard. I’m certain he saw rooftops and treetops and the fire station up the street. How cool to see the cars go by from this vantage point? And with the tilt of his head, an unobstructed view of the sky was available. A very different perspective than his usual four-foot-off-theground angle of view.
We have a pose in yoga called Straddle Forward Fold where you stand with your feet apart, creating a wide base. With a big inhale, you lengthen the torso, and then leading with the heart, fold from the hips; lowering your upper body toward the mat. This yoga posture is beneficial in a myriad of ways from stretching the hamstrings and calves, to lengthening the spine and flushing the upper body with oxygen-rich blood through the pull of gravity. But an unexpected benefit of this position is the ability to see the world from a completely different perspective. Upside-down.
How often we take for granted our view. The same room with furniture positioned just so. The same panorama from our windows. We drive routine pathways to work or the store and see familiar homes and hedges and buildings and parked cars. In the weeks since Irma, we have even become intimate with the piles of debris and blue tarp roof-coverings. In our familiarity we sometimes fail to see the detail of what we are looking at. With eyes trained to look to the next step, the next moment, or to what lies in the future, we completely miss the beauty in Here and Now.
What if it only takes a shift in perspective to capture a mundane moment and make it special? What if we walked the familiar path to work or to the store and experienced the unique character of the homes we walk past? What if we paused on the sidewalk to breathe in the aroma of a flowering hedge? Could you stand on the beach and bow forward from the hips, just to see the sand and the waves and the sky from a new angle? Would your world look different? Would you feel different about your world?
I don’t endorse crawling out windows and teetering on rooftops to gain perspective. But stepping outside our boundaries of comfort and familiarity to experience our everyday life in a new way, might be worth the risk, because it’s not really about what you’re looking at, it’s about what you see.
Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.