The crisp morning breeze begged me to gulp it down. I breathed in until my belly grew large. My clogs tapped the cobblestones with a hint of spunk. My hair, still drying on my back, swayed with the breeze, with my steps, with the lift of early morning.
I once read that one of the best gifts we can ever give is to see each other with fresh eyes. Meltdowns are forgotten by the next visit. Judgments are erased. All that is left is a blank canvas, one to be filled with who your friend is at that new and present moment in time. As I started down the hill into town, I wondered silently to myself if I could give that gift to a place, too. Could I see my familiar walk, the stores, the signs, the traffic, even the trees that lined the Jardin—with fresh eyes? Could I give San Miguel that gift? Could I give myself that gift?
As I neared the center of town, I heard the faint outline of music. It grew louder with every step, the kind of beat that thumps in your gut to bring out the primordial beast. It wasn’t ugly, though, it had a spirit to it, and from a distance I was intrigued. I think I even liked it. So when I rounded the corner, my smile had already marked its place.
The dancers looked like tin soldiers in tight little lines all moving in sync—hundreds of them in all shapes and sizes moving their bodies to the beat of the funky music, bouncing and swaying, jiggling and jostling, moving with a rhythm that was beginning to infect me, too! In the front was a man dressed in exercise gear, getting the crowd to push themselves harder. Move your booty! Let those hips bounce! Shake it, shake it, shake it! He blared into his microphone, his Spanish echoing across the plaza. Feet slapped the pavement, sweat stains grew still larger, faces swelled with heat, with exhaustion, with joy. Was I in the happiest part of a movie or was this real?
Of course I had to join in.
Of course I couldn’t stop laughing.
Of course I began to feel differently, even if just a little bit, about this familiar place.
Did I have my fresh eyes on or was it the universe giving them to me freely? Ok, so this was a big event, not something that happens every day, but the timing…it was so perfect. I asked and suddenly the familiar wasn’t so familiar anymore. It was fresh and new. And boy, did it feel good!
So...what if we all did that?
What if each of us asked for fresh eyes every day when we woke up?
What then would we see?