The Other Side of the Leaf – Guest post by Randall Friesen

Did you do something new today, something you’ve never done before? Did your feet walk on a piece of the planet where they’ve never before trod? Did you talk to a person whom you’ve never previously met? Did you learn something new?

When we were kids, every moment was new because we have fewer experiences under our belt. But as we age, we amass a storehouse of events and moments. Soon, we’ve “been around the block” enough times to know which of these experiences we enjoy and which of those we don’t. Naturally, we increasingly gravitate toward the pleasantly familiar and eschew that which holds less attraction for us. Then one day we say, “I’m in a rut.”

The World Goes Round

It is easy, as we age, to feel an increasing sense of irrelevancy. Life isn’t the way it was when we were the new kids on the planet. And when we lament the fact that computers seem to have made life more complicated rather than easier, or that people are meaner than they used to be, no one seems to listen. Or if they do, they smile at us and disregard us as “old farts.”

We’ve heard a million times that every day offers an opportunity for something new. Each day is one that has never happened before. The world doesn’t slow down. New entertainment forms are created, the political landscape changes, nations rise and fall, and nothing stays the same.

The music we popularized in our youth is now unfamiliar to us. Even the way we consume it has changed. We used to buy a record at the music store, take it home, plop it on our record player, and listen. But today it’s hard to even find a record store. Now our music comes to us through digital pathways that can be confusing and complicated. The same with movies. And banking. And the many other things that aren’t done as they used to be.

Are You a Body in Motion?

Isaac Newton’s law of motion applies to us as we move up in years: A body in motion stays in motion, unless acted upon by a force. In our case, the force is age and complacency. We allow that which we are familiar with to influence that which we do. So we find ourselves gravitating to the familiar and comfortable, to the extent that we close ourselves off to potential activities that would propel us into a life of expectancy and joy and power.

Yet once we set the intention to be new, to find fresh experiences that stimulate our imaginations and hopes, the inevitable happens: Our lives open up, we become excited about each day. We get new ideas and find ourselves once again relevant in the world, and we become someone who enhances society.

Often it merely takes a good idea or two to launch us into new living. The old ideas are mighty attractive to us, and they are easier because they are familiar. So the job is to think of new ways to stimulate ourselves while taking advantage of the wisdom of our years.

New Ideas

Step on a piece of the planet Earth today where you’ve never before stepped. Just walk right off that sidewalk and put your foot down somewhere it’s never been. Walk down an alley, or behind the shops instead of in front. Think, “Today I am going where I’ve never been before.” Do it consciously, intentionally, and think about how it feels, what it means, and where it can lead.

Say something you’ve never said before. You know “that thing” you always say? Today say the opposite. Even if you’re not sure you believe it. See what the words feel like in your mouth. Watch the response the new words have on a person who has never heard you say that before. How does it feel to say something you’ve never said before?

Look underneath something you’ve only seen from above. Pick up an object and look at the other side. See what’s behind the sign. Crawl under the table and see what life looks like from there. Turn over the leaf. Are you surprised? Have you ever seen this before? Can you learn from this?

Visit the library or a bookstore and randomly pick out a book, one you’ve never heard of. Turn to the 75th page and read the second paragraph. Study the paragraph. What do you think about it? Does it interest you? Does it teach you something? Do you hate it? Does it change you?

Talk to someone new. At the store, walking down the street, in line, say “hi” to someone. Maybe they’ll ignore you. But you will have spoken to someone you have never spoken to before. If nothing else, smile at a person as you pass by. Maybe give a nod. I’m always surprised at who smiles back and who doesn’t. It makes me realize that I have the power to add to someone else’s experience. Meeting a new person may be the best way to open up your world.

Share Yourself

Creating new experience in your life often requires sharing yourself. Maybe you’re not used to that. You have your circle of friends and they make you happy. But when you share yourself, particularly with people you don’t know or experiences you’ve never had before, you are being a body in motion. You open yourself to a fresh perspective, another person’s or place’s perspective, and this can be as rich a source of inspiration as a library full of ideas.

You don’t want to simply take from the world. Being a body in motion is good for everybody because you add to the world. Your individuality becomes a gift for others. Your ideas feed and enhance your community and everyone around you. You are relevant and new and more who you were meant to be than ever before.



Randall Friesen is owner of Newt List (, a publishing house of spiritual books using gender-neutral language, and editor of its two most popular titles, “Life Is What You Make It” and “How to Use Your Power.” He was previously Publisher of Science of Mind Publishing and Editor-In-Chief of “Science of Mind Magazine.”