“When first the Fox saw the Lion he was terribly frightened, and ran away and hid himself in the wood. Next time however he came near the King of Beasts he stopped at a safe distance and watched him pass by. The third time they came near one another the Fox went straight up to the Lion and passed the time of day with him, asking him how his family were, and when he should have the pleasure of seeing him again; then turning his tail, he parted from the Lion without much ceremony.”
“FAMILIARTY BREEDS CONTEMPT” – Aesop
I never knew where that “contempt” expression came from until I did a little research on Aesop’s Fables. It seems to be human nature to take things for granted once familiar. It happens everywhere – in friendships, business, marriages, careers, and alliances to name but a few. Reminds me of a story . . .
When I was a radio broadcaster, I remember getting my first major city job in Kansas City. I remember listening to all the other people on the radio station and thinking how good and professional they sounded. I had some doubts as to whether I could measure up to this level of talent. I remember a week later saying to myself, “I’m as good as these guys.” They were just as talented as the day I first heard them but familiarity was creeping in quickly.
I got to wondering about all the things we take for granted and noticed that the specialness of that person, place or thing gets occluded and we miss the enjoyment they can bring. We get caught up in our own internal world of thought, judgement, worry and woe and stop appreciating what is right there. We start interacting with an abstraction and not the real thing once it gets too familiar. And by too familiar, I mean that we misplace our gratitude for these treasures.
My suggestion for a remedy is: “Uncontemptable Familiarity.”
That means that comfortable old slippers need a blessing each time you put them on. Give rapt attention to the person you kiss while heading off to wherever. Appreciate the car that provides you transportation, the body that takes you through life, the shade tree in the front yard, the people who provide your employment, and anything else that if it disappeared from your life, would cause you grief.
Uncontemptable Familiarity means pay attention. Give attention to the persons, places and things that live outside your head. This present moment awareness allows you to go way deeper than familiar to the level of intimacy with life and all its gifts.
Give it a go. Today, express your gratitude for something or someone that has become all too familiar and notice the intimate connection you make with life.
All the best,
P.S. Thank you to all who participated in our FREE Hypnosis Session last night. There will be more. I would like to apologize for so much noise during the first 20 minutes of the call. It was a technical snafu that we discovered and have fixed, and it will be smooth sailing for our next teleconference.
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