Life is bigger than our explanations of it. To be in touch with life, go beyond your explanations.Julio Olalla
In this quote, I think that Julio Olalla is saying that if we only stick to our stories and opinions when attempting to interpret life, our experience of life could well be limited; that to really experience life, perhaps we should be curious about what lies beyond our explanations of it.
In a recent post, I mentioned that, as we go through life, we create stories and opinions of the world as we see it. We may form judgements of ourselves and others based on our history – the culture that we grew up in, our family narratives, our experiences over time. The important point to consider here is that these stories and opinions are a single interpretation of the world; they are not the only interpretation of the world. Our stories and assessments tell us very little about how the world really is, and a lot about how we are.
I recall a birthday party that I attended many years ago. As I moved around the room talking to people, it seemed that most people were having a great time. I then came across a couple, sitting in the corner on their own. I started talking to them, asking them how they were enjoying the party. Their response was that it was a terrible party. They then proceeded to tell me that “Everyone is too stuck up to come and talk to us. No one has said hello. It’s boring. We are sitting here and being ignored.” I found this quite fascinating. The other 48 people at the party were having a fantastic time, and yet these two people were not.
My guess is that if anyone asked these people later how the party was, they would have said that it was boring and horrible. To them, this would have been how the world of the party actually was. When I spoke to them at the party, I didn’t feel as though they would ever have thought that the party could have been anything else but boring and horrible, and I suspected that anyone thinking any differently to them would have been considered wrong.
I don’t want to judge these people; their opinions are legitimate. However, I do have a curiosity about what might have been going on for them that resulted in them forming the opinion that the party was boring and horrible. Why did they feel as though people were ignoring them? Did they feel as though it was “wrong” that they were being ignored and, if so, why? Why did they not feel as though they could go and talk to others rather than waiting for others to come and talk to them? What made it necessary for others to say hello to them first? Why did it not occur to these people that they could initiate the “hello”? In the eyes of these people, what makes someone “stuck up”? How do they react to people after forming an opinion that those people are “stuck up”?
What would have happened, I wonder, if the people in my story had taken the time to look beyond their explanations? What if they had tried to understand what was behind their opinions and stories? Would their experience of the party have been different?
This quote by Julio Olalla opened up quite a lot for me when I read it and I think I was left with a feeling of freedom afterwards; the freedom to create whatever I want from life, and the freedom to make that happen.
Points to Ponder…
- How are your explanations of the world helping you?
- How would it help to look beyond those explanations?
Who am I?
I am a leadership and life coach, available for coaching and facilitation services. If you feel that it would be useful to have a conversation with me, please feel free to view my services on the Leading and Being website.