The word discovery has discover as its root. To discover is to find something or someone unexpectedly or it can be; in the course of a search a secret or treasure is revealed. I recall the “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” and Steve Irwin’s The Crocodile Hunter” where discoveries were around every corner and behind every bush. Discovery Channel was designed as filmed stories of enticing adventures in each program. I remember playing with ideas of discovery and wonderment in the backyard, in the school yard, in fields or creek beds, and in the city. Adventures in the spirit of discovery might be cultivated alone or with others.
Does the act of discovery leave a person at a specific age? Is there a pinnacle for discovery and then it gets used up, tucked away or forgotten after that? I respect limitations that are out of one’s control. Does the curiosity or arousal of desire for exploration disappear as a normal life occurrence or because I’ve decided to stop looking around? Do I need to begin to prepare myself for sameness and mediocrity that is inevitable no matter what I do?
I would be neglectful to not address the changes that have been placed on and legislated over the world during the pandemic. Yet, I find the various ways that the world shut down for the pandemic have been rehashed, reused, reworked, and reiterated in every way possible–or so it seems. I see on the horizon of tomorrows, that there are options and opportunities which may have never been revealed if we had not faced the pandemic. This pandemic is the first in my life time, therefore the options and opportunities afforded by the pandemic are important firsts in my life.
The dilemma is in looking forward: Recovery or discovery… which is it? The world has been given a phenomenal opportunity that many have labelled “a curse”—some kind of offense that inflicted harm. Because of this infliction the world will never be the same. There are options and opportunities that have been laid out for the first time in our lifetime. Why? Because we have never experienced a year like last year. We are in a time of opening… a time of growth… a time of something more than change… a time that may have happened in bits and pieces to others in history, but this time is different. Why, you may ask? Because we are in it!
Let me talk about recovery. Recovery is defined as “a return to a normal state of health, mind or strength”. Another definition reads “the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost”. Recovery is a type of salvage. It is the concept that something is wrecked or disabled or broken and it needs fixed, disposed of, mended or rescued. Often a rescue is a planned out process, procedure or intervention which includes some type of restoration to get something or someone back to what once was. Recovery can be a never-ending process because really… is it possible to “get back” to what was? The recovery process can develop into an endless feedback loop. Change is hard. Relapse is common. Rehabilitation has standards to meet and then what? Please hear me, none of this is bad or wrong and there is more.
Let me offer a shift in perspective. What if we stop attempting to just get back what has been lost? The reality is that time marches on. What if we shift our understanding so that what we have lost can be grieved with every emotion that arises and every sensory nerve-ending that gets sparked? Grief is a whole body experience. What if we allow that within this shift we are open to look, seek, and pursue discovery of what’s next? What’s in the next minute, hour, and days to come? What if we begin to consider that there is purpose within every aspect of every life? What if we begin to face and engage something more than what was before? What if we consider that there is a possibility beyond our just dreaming or our recovery mentality? What if we attempt to finish well in everything – which means starting with noticing what has been lost? This may include finding help to end self-destructive actions or long-time meaningless habits. This may mean ending relationships that have lead you places that you never intended to go. This may be using a different compass of direction or different measurement for accountability. We cannot turn back time. What we can do is shift perspective to include the patterns of anyone’s life that can change and may have changed due to no fault of their own.
What better time than now to begin rekindling your own spirit of discovery? To embark on discoveries is not a simple procedure with numbered steps. It includes the easiest three words to say “It is hard”. The meaning of those words can be like embarking on the impossible. That too may be true… AND there is a God who is waiting to lend a helping hand.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”