2024 April 09 Seeing what is hidden in plain sight

Apr 09, 2024

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about reimagining your life. Thanks for joining me today to talk about seeing things that are right in front of you but still seem invisible. If you like what you hear today, please leave a like, tell your friends, send me a message. Thanks for joining me tonight.


The topic tonight is we're going to talk about seeing things that are right in front of you, but somehow kind of seem invisible, but also how to see them once again. Yesterday was the big total solar eclipse that went across North America–the last one for a bunch of years across most of North America. The next ones will be in 2033 up in Alaska, 2044 in the northern states, and then another one in 2045. That one will be right around dusk. It's supposed to be pretty spectacular, so put it on your calendar now so you don't miss it.


You'd think that people would be especially interested in getting the most out of this passing because it's going to be nine years before the next one--and that's going to be in Alaska. The next more visible ones are going to be quite some time away--20 and 21 years from now. 


So while you might think that, you'd be mostly incorrect, but maybe not for the reasons you think. Naturally,  everything focuses on the most obvious part. That's what people are most familiar with, and in this case, it's the occlusion of the sun by the moon.


It's pretty hard to miss. It's what all the pictures you see emphasize. When most people think of an eclipse, that's what they think of. That's what you do, you go to look at the sun getting covered, and then it comes back.


That's  obvious, because it's hard to miss. I looked up the definition of obvious in the Oxford Online Dictionary. It says, obvious, easily perceived or understood, clear, self-evident, or apparent. The definition of obvious is pretty obvious, as it were.  Having the sun go out in the middle of the day certainly meets the criteria of being obvious.


Indeed, that's exactly what most people focus on.  That's all they're talking about, and there's all the oohing and aahing as it's going on, looking at the sun. In a lot of ways, it's kind of like life, though. People are focused on the most obvious things around them. People are always focused on things like the current trends, the headline news stories, fashion, sports teams, and the whole thing about March Madness and women's basketball team.


Whatever the obvious thing is, that's the thing that we're supposed to be consuming. It's understandable, because those are the obvious things. That's what everybody talks about, so you're supposed to talk about it as well. Everywhere you turn, you see some aspect of it, so naturally, you tend to be drawn in towards the obvious.


It takes some real determination to find the subtle. In this case, the case of the 2024 eclipse, or any total or near total eclipse, the most interesting parts are what happens to everything else around me--everything else that happens in nature. I was fortunate. I have a friend who works as a grammar school teacher in the same general area-- about four or five miles from here. 


She was busy watching a gaggle of small children in the lower grades. They all went outside to watch the eclipse.  But like me, the setting where she was is also in the woods. We were messaging during the eclipse, and I was pointing out some of the other things that were going on besides the obvious. The second most obvious thing is that the temperature drops, and it drops fast. Even when the sun is still 20-30% visible, there's noticeable warmth that comes down from the sun, and then suddenly, it's cold. A fair number of people noticed that. 


But then, much more subtle is that about a half hour before the eclipse even started, all the birds settled in for the night. They start singing their evening songs, or they stop singing altogether, and suddenly the world gets very quiet.  It isn't the amount of light or the sun angle, obviously, that triggered it, because the eclipse wasn't even going to start for another half hour yet. But they already knew that dusk was upon us.


My friend confirmed that the same thing happened in her part of the woods, a few miles away. It's not like my birds are special and it only happens here. Whole different area, same thing happens. I always love when people say how stupid animals are. I guess they knew an eclipse was coming a half hour before we did. I don't think they're so stupid. Then all the other little furry animals, they also went to bed, including my cat, who just turned in for a good sleep. It wasn't like she was napping and watching me with one eye open. She just turned in to go to bed. 


The color of the whole world changes. It's a far different color than an overcast day. I've heard people say, Oh, it's kind of like a cloudy day. Actually, if you really pay attention, it's a very different color. The whole color spectrum changes. It's very unique. 


Around here and some other areas in which I've lived, we get what I call the evening breezes. There are very unique patterns starting just before the sun goes out, out of sight or out of view behind the mountains. If it isn't a windy day, it'll get very still just at sunset, and then just a few minutes later you get these evening breezes. They're very gentle breezes, and  they'll only last 10-15 minutes. They usually go a different direction than the prevailing wind.


Then they go away too. Eventually the regular prevailing winds return. The whole thing is very distinctive. When I used to run every day with Moose, my old dog, he and I could immediately notice them. Even when we had lost track of time, we're in the woods, we'd hear them in the treetops, or we're running down the road. It's like, Ooh, it's the breezes. What time is it? Oh man, we've got to get back. The whole thing is very distinctive. That happens during the eclipse as well. Just as the eclipse was approaching totality and the wind quieted down, a short while later, the evening breeze arrived. It's just something you don't expect to happen in the middle of the day. It's a very distinctive wind pattern. 


The amount of the energy the sun beams down onto Earth is almost incomprehensible.I used to do solar thermal stuff. Put a 100W incandescent light bulb in the middle of one square foot. Imagine taking these little one square tiles in your kitchen and putting a 100W light bulb in the middle of it. Now do that over your whole lawn, down the roadway, your neighbor's lawn. That's how much energy falls on the earth from the sun. That's enough energy to change the weather, even when the sun is only hidden for a few minutes.  


But we still aren't done with all the other effects of the eclipse. If you're fortunate enough to be in a quiet location, you'll notice how quiet the world gets at dusk. Suddenly, noises that are always in the background just stop, because the nighttime animals haven't started up yet, and the daytime animals have stopped, and suddenly the world gets very, very quiet.


It's a small wonder that primitive peoples thought the world might be ending because it seemed like all the living things had just suddenly disappeared.  The most fascinating part of all this is that most of the world pays no attention to any of it. 


They all saw the eclipse, the most obvious and visible part of it,  but did they really experience it?  From the traffic patterns on the interstate near where I live, it appeared that many of the travelers headed back south early in the evening. Those people probably left their viewing locations right after the maximum occlusion of the sun, thereby fully missing half of the event and all the related events that came along with it.  For most people, they were not aware of all the other magic that was happening. They saw the obvious, but they missed so much.  


Now take all this discussion about the obvious and the eclipse, and everything about being invisible right in front of us, and think about it in terms of what life has to offer with the opportunities before you.


Your personal vision, especially how others might guide you or give you advice--think about defining and following your vision, setting your SMART goals, making the big 10x decisions, defining crazy huge goals, working backwards from them to make them a reality, all the things we've discussed.


But also remember that a lot of well meaning people will tell you to do the same thing. You have a good job, you should just stick with it for 20 years. You'll get your two weeks of vacation, stop those silly dreams. Don't. It's great that you have those dreams, but  don't take yourself too seriously.


Now, I'm not advising you to be reckless, not at all, but if you've truly defined your life vision and truly worked through the steps of attaining it and are truly driven by a passion to follow your dream, the decision really becomes, Is the passion strong enough to take a risk on believing in yourself? 


Because other people can't see what's obviously in front of them doesn't mean that it is truly invisible. It may only be invisible to those who haven't taken the time to see what's right in front of them. That doesn't mean that you don't have to see it as well.  One of my dad's best friends--he lived up in British Columbia in a glacier area. It's a rugged area. It's just gorgeous.  You could walk around with him and he'd ask you, Would you like a four-leaf clover? And if you said yes, he'd pick one up and hand it to you. If you challenged him and said, Ah, you happen to see one and then you ask me, he'd look down and pick up a second one and hand it to you. 


They were there for everyone to see.  But they didn't see them. He saw the world differently,  and you can see the world differently as well. Society wants to distract you, to keep you in your place. You can strive and dream, but only a little bit, because if you do a lot more than that, people will think you're silly. That's the obvious path. 


You can also look with different, open eyes and see what others cannot see.  You can envision the future you want and how to get there, and how you can find all the four-leaf clovers that you desire. Remember the eclipse. A million watched it,  but how many people really saw all its fabulous facets?  Be mindful of all that life has to offer, and life will share generously with you. Obviously, external circumstances, things like war and conflict, can make for horrific circumstances.  But even in the worst of conditions like that, people regularly find ways to change their lives in amazing and unexpected ways. We all have seemingly limitless abilities once we become believers in ourselves.


That's it for the evening. When you're confronted with the obvious, especially when the obvious is common knowledge, immediately try to be aware of all the hidden gems that are really there in plain sight once we learn how to see them. Your homework (always optional) is to think about some common knowledge or obvious event you've recently experienced.


Try to imagine what else might have been going on that was right in front of you, but you weren't looking for it or perhaps dismissed it as unimportant. Extra points if you focus on that other subtle aspect and reframe the experience by including as much of it as you can recall.  Imagine how the experience might have changed if you'd really been aware of it at the time. Now, do the same thing with your vision.  


That's it for tonight.  As always, UKR7.com links to places you can donate to help the people in Ukraine. Of course, there's also the World Central Kitchen at WCK.org.  They've suspended operations right now in Gaza. Last I read, they're trying to get some things squared away. 


As we talked about, one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. World Central Kitchen focuses exclusively on feeding people in difficult situations. This is the second war zone they've been in. The other one's in Ukraine.  They operate throughout the world anywhere there's a disaster.


You can donate to a cause--that's a very good thing.  But there's lots of things you can do. Either donate locally, or you can just bring just a little joy into someone's life when you meet them. Smile, say hi, say thank you, ask them how they're doing. As always, once you look outside yourself into the rest of the world, it changes your vision of the world. It makes it a much more approachable and nicer place. So, please, if you can donate, great. If you can't, just try and do something nice for somebody today.


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along, and please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone, and see you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.


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