Friday, June 10, 2011

Across the Universe

I sent some one an email the other day. Just a short note.

The end.

Well, sorta.

It was maybe two days later when I received one in return. I almost didn't open it. It was a forwarded message. You know, joke of the day kinda stuff. I'm sure you know at least one person whose seemingly sole purpose is to forward whatever lands in their in-box. I just don't use email like that. Mostly if someone I know forwards something, it's gonna be good. I have asked a few different people to take me off of their list. I just don't need what turn out to be mostly a waste of time. In fact that was my first thought. "Gotta tell him to take me off".

My thumb paused good and long. Hovering. Waiting for my brain to tell it swipe the touch screen and delete the email.

"Eh", I thought, "Let's see what kind of stuff he sends".

I opened it.

Not only did I open it, I'm gonna make you read it. Oh, I know, you are welcome to skip it if you'd like. If you read this blog though, I'm sure you'll like the email.

. . . Something To Think About . . .


In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw
money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .

How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

I won't make you read much more, but I had to get you to think about this.

There is something beautiful in every one and everything. All you have to do is take the time to notice. Yes, one must look pretty deeply sometimes to find that beauty; I bet though that history's most nefarious characters started out just like you and me. All pink and fresh and crying and whatnot.

The world truly is an amazing place. Take the time to look for beauty in unexpected places. Be ready for unexpected beauty. Be mindful about it. Make that your intention. Throw your intention to across the universe.

I'm pullin' for ya.


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