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“Let the World Pass You By”

February 23, 2009

Really. You’ll notice incredible things.

But don’t just let it pass you by…watch it pass you by. Be there in the moment. Because the moment may be all you have to hold, to cherish and to live.

Spend some time being at peace with yourself and the world around you.

This is all inspired by another inspiring post by Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits. Shorter than usual and, dare I say, better than usual. Read all of it.

As I said to a group of high schoolers a few weeks ago, spend some time as a lion so you can become an elephant. Now, I know that might sound a little counterintuitive, but hear me out.

When I was in Africa, we saw probably a dozen lions and lionesses in our few safaris through the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. And with few exceptions, they were loner lions. We saw a pair of young lions—technically a lion and a lioness—playing around, aka slaughtering a wildebeest. And there was the lion with the mane and his mate who had pretty obviously just been through the ritual.

She was just lying there, watching us as we watched her

She was just lying there, watching us as we watched her

But there were far more lions lying in trees and sleeping on rocks than otherwise. They were watching the world happen around them. They stared at us as we parked our SUVs and stared back. They yawned and prowled. But they took in the world around them like no other animals seemed to. They were cherishing themselves and they were cherishing time alone.

A pack of elephants passes directly in front of our vehicles

A pack of elephants passes directly in front of our vehicles

When we saw the group of elephants on our last daylight trek through the Serengeti, they were in a line. They were in a group, a team. Everyone connected, everyone following. And everyone leading.

It was incredible.

The young ones grasping the tails of the older, bigger, stronger ones. And they were perfectly comfortable in their shared space. They passed right in front of our vehicles as we drove down the path, oblivious to all that was around them. But not because they didn’t care; because they knew that they were self-sufficient. They knew themselves and they knew each other, so they don’t need to rely on anyone or anything else.

Both lions and elephants exist in the same system, a constant reminder of the cycle between introspection and extroversion. Just like a dark personality can’t exist without a lighter side.

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