That’s precisely what I look like day 3 after The Incident. My face actually scared squirrels on our bike ride this morning!
Thankfully, it doesn’t hurt as bad as it looks.
Needless to say, I’m incognito …
Speaking of incognito . . .
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 that if we don’t 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?
“Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
– Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.
I agree. I was gardening the other day and I realized this maybe last year. I garden a lot but don’t always stop and “smell the roses”. Look at the things in front of me.
So I have been trying to do that much more so. As I sat there weeding, I enjoyed a simple old yucky fly walking all over a garlic chive flower. He flew away, I thought I’m going to see if a garlic chive flower smells like garlic or flowers…
Didn’t smell like either.
That’s fantastic, Beth! Taking time out to “smell the roses” — and it your case you mean that quite literally 🙂
Thanks Laurie!! I am having so much fun NOT missing most of my day. I am back in the classroom and 3-6 yr olds DO NOT miss a thing. They are fully present and are great daily reminders of how much we could be missing if we insist on struggling through our day, rushing, worrying and all those other things that trick us.
As a good friend of mine in the Bahamas reminds me when talking about life…..”I love this game!”
Lisa – I can well imagine that those 3-6 year olds don’t miss a beat! And they’re probably keeping you on your toes, to boot! I’m so glad you popped in today, thank you.
Laurie, you look absolutely beautiful, just in a different way than the way we usually perceive you. Like the passers-by in Washington, we don’t alert our senses to those things that we see as commonplace, for instance, a street musician playing for change. Or the simple lacy symmetry of a garlic chive bloom, the nice lady in big shades. In glorified circumstances the street musician becomes a world renowned concert violinist, the kitchen garden flower an elegant counterpoint to red roses and and golden lilies in an exquisite centerpiece and and the lady in shades, a gifted healer with magic in her hands.
Sandi – You usually make me laugh so hard that I shoot whatever I’m drinking, right out my nose! Not in this case. Today you made me cry tears of happiness – thank you for your beautiful words.
Laurie…your blogs are always good, but this one is really speaking to me. As I am trying to breath more and notice the beautiful things around me, I will be thinking of your blog today. Thank you! Cheri
Cheri – It was good to see you the other day. breathe, Breathe, and BREATHE again. I’m so glad this post was food for thought for you — thank you for letting me know.
It is all in the perseception… of what you expect to see and what you do see. It is an activity of Being Here Now. Listening and seeing with the heart, not with the mind or thoughts.
There is a video that goes with that story of Joshua Bell performing in the subway. What treat that would be! Yet everyday the trees and flower and wind play a song of beauty for us to witness.
I love Sandy’s responds, she has gathered it all together and re gifted it all back to us…
I am Love, Jeff
Jeff – I, too, love Sandi’s response. I also resonate with your words, “Listening and seeing with the heart, not with the mind or thoughts.” Well said.
Awww, Jeff! You’re so nice.
Hope you are well on the mend. Can I recommend a energy healer in Crystal lake , you might know the place.
It is truly amazing how much we realize that we take for granted is in front of us when things happen like this. How the little things that we do not notice come alive and unfortunately hit us between the eyes.
In your case , you have really experienced it in the realm of first hand news!
Take care and be safe!
Hi Kim! You’re right — we can take a lot for granted, even when it’s right in front of us. By the way, how is OREOZ? I hope that he, too, is on the mend.
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. But…your favorite color is purple so that’s the gift.
Stories and moments like the one you relate above always reminds me of when my daughter was around 15, and I realized the messes I created, or the lessons I forgot to teach and when it hurt to acknowledge how my own selfishness or laziness let the wonder of her become the burden of her. Like the beauty of that music, so is there a beauty in our children and beyond that, all people, but we drift it in, then drift it out. On to that next moment that gives us more of the same dullness,instead of stopping and letting that brief moment of beauty fill us, teach us, heal us.
I say, take off the glasses – enjoy reading the minds of those that see you, to listen to the stories they are making up about how you achieved your battle wounds. xxx
Saidbetween – I’m certainly glad you stopped by this evening and left a comment, thank you. It’ll be green in a couple of days so I’ll really blend in with the walls at HolEssence: lavender and sage. I very much appreciate what you shared about your daughter. And while I can’t actually read minds, I can read feet. I’m hoping someone will think I got my battle wounds in an amazing way — like a hot air baloon accident, or something equally envelope pushing. Have a great evening!
How many times do we walk by gifts of beauty without stopping? I know I do. In a way this story could be inspiring to other artists who perform in public and don’t get much recognition. They could think, “Well, if even Joshua Bell didn’t get noticed, well, maybe I am doing better than I thought!” It is interesting that the children wanted to stop and listen but the busy frazzled parents were trying to get from Point A to Point B.
P.S. Wow, you are looking like a bruiser, lady! tee hee…hope you heal quickly.
Kathy – I really like your spin on this (from the perspective of other performers who may not get much recognition). I hadn’t thought about that facet! And yes – the children ALL wanted to stop but the busy parents were in too much of a hurry.
Hi, Laurie — being a Washington DC local, I see all sorts of weird things happening around Metro stations. I don’t think they are any stranger than what might happen in any other city, though. I think people are just conditioned to seeing specific things in specific places at specific times and anything out of the ordinary is instantly suspicious. We fall into the trap of insisting upon what SHOULD be rather than what COULD be and there is so little room left over for improvisation and the occurrence of what is possible.
Barbara – I agree with you about the “conditioning” aspect of things. If we don’t see what we “expect” — we tend to become suspicious. We focus on the “shoulds” instead of the “coulds.” Great perspective — thank you!
A very good question.
As I wrote in another post earlier today “It is possible to mix strategies, simultaneously.
Just as in exercise, it is possible to have awareness on both the muscle groups being exercised, and the breath and the posture and to maintain counting; so it is also possible to maintain simultaneous and parallel awareness of beginners and expert mind, and maintain a context of open possibility.
Being present in such a fashion seems to give us the best chance at seeing what is there to be seen, and appreciating as much of it as we can.
Ted – I really like the word you used, “appreciating.” That action has such a profoundly positive effect on our experience. Appreciation is a wonderful thread to weave into our life’s tapestry — it makes it oh-so-much vibrant and richer.
i came over from Kathy’s blog to visit. This is an amazing story that has me thinking, especially since the children seem to be the only ones who showed mindful interest in the music. I sure hope your gargle bump is healing!
Barb – I’m so glad you popped over from Kathy’s blog. Children are a lot wiser than we give them credit for. My bump is getting better every day, thank you.