Don’t you just love the word “New?” The very sound of it brings fresh expectations and change. I am a lover of words, and this is on my list of favorites. Don’t get me wrong, I am a respecter of old and even cherish it in many forms, but there is nothing quite like new. It just rolls off the tongue with excitement and anticipation.
I am reminded of the feelings attached to some of my favorite new experiences:
- The brilliance of a new sunset
- A deep, penetrating warmth when connecting with a new friend
- The fresh smell of a new car
- The luminous glow of a new moon
- Stepping outside to be greeted by a cool burst of air signaling fall has arrived
- The melody of new birds chirping and singing the arrival of spring
- Putting on a new pair of fluffy slippers
- The comforting aroma of a brand new pot of coffee after a sleepless or long night
- Slipping into a bed with soft new sheets
- The earthy smell of new books in a bookstore
- A cleansing breath and outstretched arms, filling the body with new air
“New” very often signifies the start of something different, a freshness apart from our everyday routine, a moment of recall or clarity. So much adventure can be encompassed in such a small word.
All too often, I get bogged down by the old; old habits, old mindsets, old behaviors, old thoughts and old emotions. The end result often leaves me suffering from tunnel vision to the point where I have trouble seeing the many possibilities which surround me. A Wikipedia definition of “tunnel vision” is the loss of peripheral vision with retention of central vision, resulting in a constricted circular tunnel-like field of vision. As life’s challenges present themselves unexpectedly, if we are not vigilant, tunnel vision sneaks in like a cunning thief, and steals both our ambition and hope, leaving us lazy and complacent.
Tunnel vision is one of the reasons I began my Luke 2:52 project in the first place. I had reached a point in my life where I wasn’t necessarily unhappy, but I was stuck in an old, predictable and stagnant place. I needed an agent of “new.” I needed an avenue of change. I needed to exercise and regain my peripheral vision. We all find ourselves in this same place at some point in our lives because we are not in control of what life brings. It takes effort to turn our head and regain a wider range of vision. It takes intention to exercise our peripheral vision. An unused muscle develops atrophy rather quickly.
So, how do you exercise this muscle? It’s actually quite simple.
Stretch your vision. Open your eyes to the possibility of new and all it has to offer by walking outside of the tunnel.
Scan and notice what comes into view which may have been hidden.
Open and close your eyes again to bring what is new into clearer vision, zeroing in on detail.
Gather information and determine its relevance.
Embrace new ideas and concepts as their shapes and colors create interest.
Allow these new ideas to create a plan and produce action.
Feel the range of motion as the muscle begins to gain strength and enjoy the moments.
Be vigilant to keep the new muscle flexible and keen.
By exercising our peripheral vision, we leave the tunnel vision exactly where it should be, with the trains and subways, and we can go out into the new year experiencing a fresh, new path in life.
What comes into view when you exercise your peripheral vision?