I think most people have experienced deja-vu. Defined as “the illusion of remembering scenes and events when experienced for the first time only,” deja-vu happens randomly without explanation. An odd sensation, it may feel confusing and difficult to describe or defend. And in my experience, it’s fleeting and quickly forgotten. It’s sort of a throwaway experience.
Consider instead vuja-de. There’s nothing throwaway about it and that’s why I love it.
Vuja-de is deja-vu reversed. In other words, it’s knowing the experience has happened many times before and yet it’s seeing that experience in new ways as if it were the “first time” with newly wide-open fresh eyes. Think about that. Think about how it would add value to every single day.
Perhaps it seems that there are few novel experiences in day-to-day life. Most days could quite possibly be described as repetitive and inconsequential. How many days are particularly noteworthy? Vuja-de dispels wearisomeness because it embraces the notion that each day is potential, each day is opportunity, each day is imaginable. Vuja-de is about choosing the better perspective.
Recently, I had the privilege to listen to a holocaust survivor, Dr. Eva Olsson. Her life-experiences are raw and disturbing, yet enlightening and inspiring too. Her message is simple, (yet an enormous task): she aims to banish hate. I’m thankful for her words and even more thankful many young people heard her truth because there’s precious little time left to learn first-person from veterans and survivors. One particular story stood out and it wasn’t one of hers. Instead it was about her. The teacher who introduced her to the crowd described the two of them walking out into the sunshine earlier that day when Dr. Eva, 92-year-old holocaust survivor, stopped and stated, “Oh this sunshine is so beautiful.”
Of course it is. And given her harrowing experiences, of course she would know how precious it is. Yet how many times do we walk into the light each day and notice nothing remarkable about it? That’s why I believe we all need a little vuja-de.