What to do before you take a photo or push the buy button
The mother stopped at the crossroads and pointed down. She and her boy were standing between the two-lanes of Park and Madison Avenues in 97th street.
“Look at the tracks!” the mother pointed out.
The child loved those long rows of iron teeth that single-handedly contained the powerful impetus of the train. He was awed at the marvel of engineering that harnesses speed. But above all, he was invited by the tracks.
You probably know what I mean. There is an archetypal power in train tracks. They invite us to follow their iron steps into the unknown, beyond the horizon.
“I want a train!” the child bawled. “I want the train and the tracks!”
At that moment, the mother had a golden opportunity.
She could have pointed out that possession does not fulfill the invitation.
Instead, she went into the place of her little girl and hurried to assure her boy:
“Alright, we’ll get one for you!”
What if instead of teaching her boy that possession is power, she would have help him understand and accept the invitation?
“The tracks are inviting you, arent’ they? They have a strong magic. It is the magic of possibility. Where could you go if you follow them? Anything is possible in your life.”
“They have another magic. The magic of focus. Each iron step follows the other, forming a lane. Follow the lane and you get there. This is like the way you achieve your dreams and goals. You give one step in front of the other. You do one thing and then another. Each tiny thing you do leads to learning more and builds on the one you did yesterday, and pretty soon you are there. You have arrived.”
“And there’s a third magic that the train tracks have. It is the invitation to travel into the unknown, beyond the horizon of what we are able to see now. This invitation is the way to grow, to expand, to become all that you can be. It is a powerful invitation because it lets you know that there is infinite potential inside you and that you can be anything you want to be, even if you don’t know how yet. Not knowing where you are going is just part of the adventure.”
“So now you HAVE the train tracks inside you. You have their magic inside you. And anytime that you want something, you remember the train tracks. See them in your mind eyes, and follow them to what you want. Follow their magic by keeping your focus on your goal and taking each tiny step towards it. Follow their magic by trusting the adventure of life, and moving towards your purpose even if you do not know what will happen next. Every time you do this, you are walking in the train tracks. You don’t have to possess them because they are yours forever.”
What a gift it is when someone expands our imagination and deepens our understanding, helping us own the experience without trying to possess the moment; which is not a possession.
When our parents, teachers or mentors give us this gift, then we understand our human possibilities and the gifts that life brings to us without trying to control the details.
We are spared anguish and addiction and instead we are giving the gift that keeps on giving.
Who would want a little train and tracks after such gift? And then, if the child still wanted it, the parent could teach him delayed gratification by saying:
“If you still want it when Christmas come, I’m sure that Santa will be glad to give it to you.”
Next time you go on a trip or vacation, visit a museum or see a beautiful landscape, watch that little boy inside you who screams:
“I want to have it!”
Before you take photos in your new gadget, look at the gift. Allow your heart to receive it. See its possibilities in your imagination.
That way you will take it with you forever.
You may not need a snapshot then.
But if you do, you will have something far more durable and meaningful than a snapshot of something you did not see when it was in front of you.
To enjoy a story that took place on that same NY spot in which the parent did exactly what I recommend and turned on the magic, go here.
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