People often suffer from the “grass is greener on the other side” syndrome. From the earliest age, we learn to compare ourselves with others, and learn to want what they have. I remember once seeing a little boy and his brother picking out costumes for a party. The first exclaimed “I want to be Gimli!” and picked up a Gimli costume. The second shouted “I want to be Legolas!”, to which the first immediately droped his costume and responded, “I want to be Legolas too!”.
Why is there such an innate desire to want what we don’t have, and to be unsatisfied with what we’ve got?
I believe that one of the keys to “La Dolce Vita”, or “The Soulful Life”, is learning to love what we have. The problem with being envious of your neighbor is that you spend all your time looking at his house and missing everything else around you. We become too busy coveting to spend any time enjoying. We cannot enjoy the sensation of life, of being alive, and of all that there is around us.
Our Italian friends have a great term for this – sensazione. Ok, fine, it’s just the translation of the word “sensation”, but still. I like it. It’s got a ring to it. Sensazione.
When was the last time you took the time to just revel in the sensation of being alive? When was the last time you stood in the rain with your jacket in your hands, marveling in the sensation of rain washing over you? When did you last wake up early on a crisp fall morning and just take in the glorious sunrise, its hues and beams bursting over the horizon?
We need to take time to enjoy the sensazione of living, to savor the present moment. Leonardo wrote that “the average person looks without seeing, hears without listening, touches without feeling, breathes in without awareness of aroma or fragrance, eats without tasting and talks without thinking.” Oh how much of life we miss by living like this!
When we go through the motions of life, our eyes plastered to other people and what they’ve got, our ears merely listening for the next catch phrase, we become immune to our senses, and live in a realm far below that which our creator intended for us. We’ve got to revel in our sensations, in our experiences. In surrounding ourselves with beauty, with wonder, and with rich experience, we allow ourselves to have that child-like awe that elevates our lives, and gets our hearts pumping faster.
After all, that’s what we want isn’t it? The rich, abundant life, the purposeful journey through our time on this world. Don’t we all want to look back on that great day and smile knowing that we lived every moment to the full? Don’t we want to get up there, to that great big city up there and know full well that we experienced all that there was this side of Heaven?
Savor your experiences, delight in your senses, try new things. Don’t take people’s word for things – try them yourself. Go wine tasting. Take some good wines and cheeses, and take the time to compare them. Bring your friends along, and ask them how they experience the delicacies. Ask them what it reminds them of, what sensations it brings to them.
Einstein wrote that “there are two ways to live life - one is to live as though nothing is a miracle. The other is to live as though everything is a miracle.” Let’s learn to love our own grass, and experience all the sensations this world has to offer!