Earlier this year I spent six weeks in Santa Catalina, a small village on the Pacific coast of Panama, which offers spectacular sunsets (among other things). I made a point of watching the sunset as often as possible.
In that time, I confirmed something that I already knew:
The sun sets every day, but it’s never the same twice.
Along the Pacific coast, every town has its sunset spot. On a clear day (or even slightly cloudy) in La Jolla, people camp out on the cliffs by the ocean — hours in advance — to get a front row seat to nature’s greatest daily show.
They set up their chairs and picnic tables on the grass and on the cliffs, fueled with snacks and wine, and wait for the magic.
Each day’s show is slightly different, but the feeling it evokes is the same: Awe. Wonder. The feeling of Yūgen.
When it comes to sunsets, how often do you hear yourself say,
Whatever. I’ve seen enough. Been there. Done that.
Contrast that to other parts of your day. Once we have experienced something a few times it gets old. We “know” what to expect, so don’t watch or listen as closely.
What if you approached the most mundane parts of your day as if they were a sunset?
Notice how the sunset provokes you to wait with eager anticipation, fully present to the magic that is about to unfold in front of you.
What might change in your life if your brought that type of reverence to your conversations? Your relationships? Your daily tasks?
What if you treated each moment, each interaction, each task, like it was never the same twice?
The phenomenon of sunsets is not unique to sunsets.
Nothing is ever the same twice.