Today we live in a culture where our eyes are cast downwards.
Whether it is to avert eye contact or because they are looking at their phones or devices or that they are simply shy, many people in modern society look down.
As you walk through the streets, how many people will look you in the eye? How many people will smile at you or say hello to you?
Sometimes I think it’s odd when strangers randomly speak to me. Why are they talking to me? What’s their angle? What do they want from me?
Especially, if it is someone who I judge to be a vagrant, in an alley way or a rougher part of town. I am wary. My guard goes up.
Is that fair?
Granted, there are many crazy people out there, but that is not to say they are dangerous.
It is ok to speak to strangers in the street. It is ok to say hello to a man who is begging for money. These people are not invisible. And, at least, even if I decide not to give them money, I can at least give them my respect by acknowledging that they are there and that they are real people.
Many of us don’t truly see people. As in see past the exterior. We make them invisible to us.
Look up. Look up and see the world that is out there. Look up and smile. Say hello to the people that are there in front of you.
It’s not always the phone or the screen that holds us back.
Sometimes we are just looking down internally. We are not looking for the connections that are already there.
The world is out there waiting to be seen and interacted with. Look up and see it.
See the sky. On a more literal level, see the tops of buildings.
I notice often times when I walk around Downtown, Gastown or Kitsilano and I never actually look up to the tops of the buildings.
Some of them are beautiful and completely differently to what is to be seen at ground level. There is so much to see, so much there for us, so much texture, color, life that we miss.
Look up. You will never climb the ladder to success without looking up.
To metaphorically look up and reach for your goals.
You won’t find them on the ground, (unless you’re a geologist) or in your screens. Maybe you will but the point I am making is that you will find your goals and inspiration all around you.
If you are not open to that, they may never come to you. Ideas and dreams float about like clouds. You may miss them if you are not receptive to them.
Be open, be receptive and look up.
You will never reach for the stars without looking up. The stars could be anything, your inspiration, your goal, your destination. You may even literally reach for the stars – just ask Chris Hadfield (Canadian commander if the International Space Station).
Looking up also has a spiritual meaning for many people. The heavens and God are above them for most of us.
For me, God, or the higher power, or the universe is all around us, but I feel it most powerfully when I reach the top of a mountain. True, at the top of a mountain one tends to look down on all that is below them, but you can’t get there in the first place without looking up.
Mountains, for me have a profound grounding and spiritual effect. I live for the mountains, to disappear into the trees and hike for hours or days to emerge into a landscape of rock, stone and sky and be at peace. I can’t describe it but I firmly believe that mountains hold great power.
The next time you see somebody with good posture, take a look at them. Is their head down, shoulders hunched? Unlikely. They will be straight backed, chin up, not necessarily looking up to the sky in reverence of some great peak, but they will be looking up, able to greet the faces of the people they meet with confidence.
Many self help gurus talk about the effect of using power poses before a difficult situation. Let’s try an experiment.
Stand up, feet slightly apart, chest proud. Extent your arms straight out to the sides, palms up and look up. Close your eyes and feel it. Give it thirty seconds. How was it?
This pose is here for us to use at any time. Use it. Look up. Take the power and confidence from this pose.
So maybe after reading this, the next time you step outside, try to meet the faces of those you see in the streets. Smile. Look up. Reach up. Strive. Reach for the top and take yourself there.