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A man gazes at the Milky Way outside his house at night

Sometimes I think we’re alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we’re not. In either case, the idea is quite staggering. ~ Arthur C Clarke (1917-2008)

At first glance I love and hate this quote.

I love it because it reminds me to consider the grandeur and the possibilities of existence. It points me to the stars and it begs me to question and look further. It challenges me to think about “what if’s” and realms of space beyond my earthbound inclinations.

I hate it for similar reasons. It forces me to consider parts of myself that I frequently overlook. It shows me that my questions are most often aimed at the ordinary instead of the extraordinary. It reminds me that I am most often concerned with my inner world at the expense of a more imaginative outer one.

Fortunately, most first glances (and self critiques) are also incomplete. Yes, this quote makes me feel good and bad in the space of a moment, but self-reflection often provokes emotional response. After all, the quote does underscore happy memories and unhappy regrets for me. Yet, if I look into my appreciation and through my critique I find myself empowered by this quote.

I can recapture the seemingly forgotten. I can still question the uncommon.  I can also create a more imaginative everyday–if not a more imaginative me. When I embrace my perceptions of good and bad and self, I learn about both (my perceptions and self). Far from pushing aside this quote and its bittersweet provocation, I embrace it to make the most of who and what I want to be. This spin on my experience and perception, much like the quote’s implications, is quite staggering.

I urge you to contemplate the night sky and the meanings of your existence. Ponder your inner and outer experience all the while. You, like me, may be pleasantly surprised by the implications of your self discovery.  At very least you’ll be more familiar with yourself and your perceptions. Learn from both to expand the world of possibility you experience.

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