Published On: Mon, Feb 25th, 2013



… Rebecca Kovan, PhD (Dr. Bee)

My internet home page has a little corner of real estate dedicated to an inspirational quote. It changes daily and it sources range and its content varies. Usually I forget it is there even though it is directly in my line of vision, many times a day. So much for self-imposed motivational cues! The point is that I am repeatedly exposed to a daily quote; I repeatedly see a daily quote, but I am not really seeing it.

The operative word is ‘really’, for it is the ‘really’ that carries the experience of whatever it is our sense(s) is trying to teach us, or expose us to. ‘Really’ is honesty’s checkpoint; sure, you can still sneak past it, but ‘really’ knows itself, and it knows when it is being deceived.


Yeah, really.

I think this phenomenon happens a lot, with all of our senses.

Think about a conversation where someone was talking to you. Were you really listening? Were you really present for what was being shared? Or, did you have your own laundry list of items or problems rolling through your mind, compelling you to insert a “yes,” or, “uh-huh,” or “hmm,” or some other uttered-filler-accomplice, which doesn’t even have to be strategically placed to be a weapon for faking interest.

Think about a meal that someone lovingly prepared for you. Did you really taste the complexity of the flavors, the freshness of the components, and the beauty of its seasonality? Or, did you inhale the dish, chewing just enough so choking wasn’t an issue?

I use humor to get my point across, but what is really happening is not funny at all. In fact, it is tragic, for what I am suggesting is that we hear without really hearing, we often taste without really tasting, we often touch without really touching, we often smell without really smelling, we often see without really seeing, and I would argue that we also tend to speak without really saying anything of import.

Thus ultimately, we often live without really living.

Don’t get me wrong. I am by no means preaching from a pulpit of perfection. I am guilty of all of the above. In fact, I may even be regarded as masterful in some arenas, arenas which I will leave unnamed and vague; my aim is to enlighten, not to give myself up!

I raise this topic because I think it is a sickness of our modern society. Most of us are moving so fast, our plates are so full, and our stressors are so many, that we don’t feel as if we have the time to really experience what our senses are interpreting. We rush though our days; one part anxiety-fueled, one part exhaustion-zombified, one part guilt-propelled, and one part hurry up-catch up.

(If you are one of the fortunate who has no idea as to what I am writing about, my advice is to drop the mouse and slowly, slowly step away from the computer screen and go take a walk in nature and enjoy your bliss. If I sound spikey, it is only because I am jealous.)

There is an epidemic afoot, and it has somehow tricked and twisted its way into what we now deem as normal. But I remember a time when things moved at a slower pace. I have a context for comparison and I am not too far removed from recalling those days. And I am here to tell you, no, to remind you and me, that zooming about, one-hundred miles an hour, failing to hear, taste, touch, see, and smell is the problem and not the solution.

Cramming more into our already stuffed-days does not add meaning; it adds pressure.

When we cheat our senses, we cheat ourselves and everyone we impact. We are not more effective, we are less effective. We are not more efficient, we are less efficient. We are not more astute, we are less astute. Unfortunately, we are surrounded by a culture that rewards the slick, the superficial, the speedy, the simulated, and the synthetic. But we are a part of that culture, and to believe we are powerless against changing it is to give in and quit; throw in that towel and brace yourself for the perpetual treadmill, i.e., hamster wheel, that never stops and never offers relief of any kind.

And this outcome, simply put, is unacceptable.

I refuse to give up my free will. I may not be able to change the collective with a flick of my wrist, but I can change myself. And in changing myself, I am an example for others. Those others may then be motivated to change, who then become examples, and on and on it goes. That is how global shifts occur.

One person at a time.

I invite you to really slow down. I invite you to really hear what is being shared from an open and unmuddled space. I invite you to really taste the deliciousness of the bounty upon your plate. I invite you to really feel the skin of a loved one. I invite you to really smell the medley of a field. I invite you to really see the inspirational quote on your computer screen.

I’ll leave you with the Q is for Questioning poem from the amazing book Alphabet Living(

For as long as we can question, we can change, and as long as we can change, we have free will, and as long as we have free will, we can create a new earth.

Q is for Questioning

Questioning ignites the flame of shared investigation.

Questioning evolves ideas, birthing innovation.

Should you not be sure in which direction you are leaning,

Questioning might point to . . . “Find a path with heart and meaning!”

Now go really hug your children and make it a great day!




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