Familiar and Strange

Last night I, along with 999 other music lovers, watched the Opera Tosca, in a huge tent in a small town in Merzig, Germany. It was familiar and strange at the same time. Sung in Italian, the subtitles were shown on a screen high above the stage – in German of course. I understand only a word or two of German, recognize only a few in Italian, yet found myself looking up at the screen frequently to try and understand what was being sung on stage – and of course, I couldn’t. My brain kept wanting to make sense of it, and refused to remember that the German language holds no clues to understanding for me at all!! Yet I kept glancing up.

What is that about I wonder?

It’s partly about my never-ending need to “understand” and make sense of my experiences. It’s also a demonstration of how the brain takes time to adjust to new information. And how it recognizes certain things as normal (the timeless music, the audience – (people are essentially the same the world over), the sensory experience of being part of a production which could be taking place anywhere. And refuses to acknowledge the one element that is so different – the language!

So the curious questions begin.

How do I respond when faced with something that is both familiar and strange at the same time?

How accepting am I of differences?

Do I know how to enjoy the moment for whatever it has to offer?

When do I refuse to accept what I know is true? And how does that impact my experience, my feelings, my actions, my relationships?

I invite you to notice when you are in a situation familiar and strange at the same time and notice how you react, feel, act. And to appreciate the learning therein. I’d love to hear about what you have noticed.


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