Archive for January 7th, 2013

January 7, 2013

Arrival vs. entrance: Do you stick to the sidelines or dance at the heart of it all?

Today, I share another passage from Jamie Zeppa‘s book Beyond the Sky and the Earth:  A Journey into Bhutan.  Zeppa has recently arrived in a tiny, remote village in southeastern Bhutan, where she will spend two years as a volunteer teacher in a local school.  The initial culture shock has hit her hard: her dilapidated lodging, her flea-infested bed, her fear of food-borne illness, her inability to communicate with her students . . . the differences between her life in Canada and the life she encounters in Bhutan are stark, making her long to pack her bags and head home.  But she perseveres — and slowly begins to crack the surface of the rich culture that surrounds her.

Here, Zeppa describes the difference, as she perceives it, between arriving in a place and entering it:

Arrival is physical and happens all at once.  The train pulls in, the plane touches down, you get out of the taxi with all your luggage.  You can arrive in a place and never really enter it; you get there, look around, take a few pictures, make a few notes, send postcards home.  When you travel like this, you think you know where you are, but, in fact, you have never left home.  Entering takes longer.  You cross over slowly, in bits and pieces.  You begin to despair:  will you ever get over?  It is like awakening slowly, over a period of weeks.  And then one morning, you open your eyes and you are finally here, really and truly here.  You are just beginning to know where you are.

This distinction certainly applies to travelling — when you visit a new locale, you can choose to either arrive and skim the surface or enter and dance to the pulse of what makes that place unique — but I think the difference also applies to how you live life itself.

In your day-to-day life right now — in your career, your relationships, your activities, your decisions — are you merely arriving — standing on the surface, lingering on the fringe, just glancing around — or are you truly entering — reaching out and in, immersing yourself in the rhythms, becoming part of the heartbeat itself?

The more fully you enter life, the richer and more rewarding it becomes.  Entrance isn’t always easy, but it is worth the time and worth the effort.  After all, dancing to that inner rhythm is where the magic really begins.