Beliefs, Day in the life

Perspective

Image result for images of people swimming after Irma

Over the last 6 weeks people have gone through massive shifts, from political conflict to the solar eclipse and natural disasters. Threats come from so many directions: military missiles, ancient disease rising from glacial melt, environmental toxicity, the list of things to fear is endless. Our news sources are unreliable leaving people open to speculation that fans the flame of fear even more.

We all have the capacity for fear. We all view our situation or circumstances from our own unique perspectives. People who stand in fear find only the negative, worst-case-scenario, what-is-missing perspective. Most of our own fears never come for fruition. But lately, people have been blindsided by events like the recent hurricanes and fires that ravaged Texas, Montana, and Florida.

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Some folks lost everything and others were unscathed. Some of those who walked away with nothing but the clothes on their backs are full of gratitude and hope, putting one foot in front of the other despite all they’ve lost. Others see only the darkness and feel crippled by the thought of the unknown. They feel as if they are swimming upstream exhausted.

I had to learn to reframe my perspective first hand. After facing the loss of “everything,” I had to go forward one hour at a time and not look back. I was lucky to have a couple dear friends in my corner.

Gone is gone. Crying over what has been lost is energy wasted and unnecessarily stressful. You can only put one foot in front of the other and go forward. Revisiting the past for any reason other than objectivity is time and energy better invested in moving down a new path of the unknown.

A recent interview with a woman who lost everything to Irma on St. John’s island was heartbreaking. “I don’t know how to do this,” she said. “There’s no power, no water, no food, no facilities, and nowhere to turn.”  On the flipside, there are folks on the mainland with their electricity restored and their homes in tact lamenting over the potential outcome: rising insurance rates, lack of internet access, and the possibility of the next storm finishing them off. These people are not camping in rubble with the mosquitoes in the oppressive 92-degree heat.

What makes one person miserable and another grateful in the moment? Perspective.

Things we take for granted are now luxuries to one who lost everything. Water to drink and wash with, shelter from the heat, a flushing toilet, and food. The woman in shock in St. John wanders lost. Hopefully, she will find help from FEMA or National Guard. Others are swimming in the ocean with the backdrop of destruction. Their perspective? When life hands you clear water and sunshine, might as well enjoy a moment while waiting for the cavalry to arrive.

Image result for images of people swimming after Irma

Starting over with nothing sucks, but you don’t need to continue looking through the lens of catastrophe. Seeing through the lens of faith – that things will only get better because it can’t be worse – is the best way forward.

Because if you’ve lost everything, you’ve got nothing left to lose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beliefs, Day in the life

Safe Spots

My dog has two “safe spots” in the house. A patch of tile and his bed. When he doesn’t want to be bothered, brushed, or bathed, he goes to one of those safe spots. We respect that and wait until he moves away to proceed.

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We humans don’t always have our safe spot nearby. When someone imposes views not aligned with our own, it is considered rude to stop them from speaking further. If only we could travel with some sort of invisible force field that is electrified like a bug zapper, we would be able to see the unwanted words and ideas sizzle and smoke, never reaching our intellect and emotional body.

No matter how much we may empathize or sympathize with another, we do not have the ability to read their minds, walk their path, or feel all that they are feeling from their unique perspective. And no matter how much we may identify with their problems – having “Me, too!” moments – we are not able to fully experience all that they are with identical philosophies or values.

We may desire to help so much that we are blinded by our own intention, unable to see the body language and facial cues that beg, “Please Stop!”

   Trying to help when I’m not sure what I need yet.

   Thinking you know how I feel when you don’t.

   Pressing your views against mine.

   Talking. You’re only making things worse.

The poor person we want to help only wants to jump ship in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight.

A person’s “safe spot” should be honored with breathing space and time for contemplation. We can make offerings to tempt the person away from their spot, then step back, allowing them space to choose for themselves which offer they’d like to receive. And if our offering is not the one chosen, accept that choice as being in their best interests.

Some of us are hard-wired helpers who sometimes forget that help is selected by the individual in need, and one size does not fit all.

Related image

 

(The video of this dog is totally unrelated, but he’s offering dog toys to an infant because he stole her toy. )

http://www.boredpanda.com/dog-apology-baby-toys-laura-charlie/

 

 

Day in the life

When No One Hears You

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Image by DeviantArt

Ever have times when you need someone to listen to your thoughts, your ideas, or your problems and you feel as if you are talking to a wall? You are met with resistance and offered explanations on why your thoughts, ideas, and problems are not real or true? You hear the word “no” a lot.

While your friends and family mean well, they don’t always listen. Oh, they hear select words and begin formulating responses before you are finished talking. They stop listening at a certain point and focus on that alone without hearing you out completely. Hurt feelings develop because you feel shut out, your thoughts and feelings are not important enough for full consideration.

Often, we just want to be heard. We don’t require advice or approval. We just need validation that our thoughts, ideas, or problems are worthy of someone’s time and attention. When we are not heard, we retreat into a tower of our own design, either a prison or a haven, to bandage our wounded heads and hearts.

Boo hoo, poor you. What can you do?

Talk louder?  Throw a temper tantrum like a spoiled child?

I write things out as if there is a fly on the wall reading it. I think perhaps we might just be working too hard to be heard by the wrong people. Maybe it’s prudent to move down another path and encounter new people. Maybe we should sit with ourselves instead of leaning on others to make it better. Maybe a shift in perspective is in order.

This morning I watched a young doe wander around the pasture behind my house looking lost. I watched her for about fifteen minutes. I put myself in her place, alone in the rain looking for which direction to head without another for guidance. She circled a small area and stared right at me for several minutes.

“What do I do? Which way to I go? Where are others like me?”

Being lost and alone is a temporary state. And the only way to find others like you is to move and continue to search. And the rain. (How I prayed for it though our painfully dry summer! Now we are getting too much.) But rain is cleansing. It washes everything and brings new growth. Clean slate, so to speak.

So, what if no one hears you? If you are quiet enough, you might hear that still small voice. “Psst. Over here.” And you’ll move in that direction, in a new mindset with a new perspective. Because remaining rooted in one perspective won’t help you to be heard.

 

 

 

 

Day in the life, Meta Stuff

The Glass: Half Full or Empty?

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Image courtesy of Getty Images

I read an article where the interviewee was asked if he was a “glass is half full” or a “glass if half empty” person?

I’ve never liked “this or that” questions.

To my mind, it should be about perspective. Indulge me a moment.

Say there is milk in the glass – half full or half empty. If the glass happens to be tall and you wish to dunk cookies into the milk, you may view the glass as half empty because you can’t get the cookie deep enough to reach the milk without losing it to dissolve into sediment.

If, like me, you happen to be allergic to cow’s milk, you may view the glass has half full of something you can’t have, and must dispose of for your own safety. Or you could be thankful that it is already half empty.

If there is port wine in the glass, you may view it as a boon since port is powerfully fortified and usually served in thimble-sized glasses. Not so great for those who avoid alcoholic beverages.

The same goes for dirt, chocolate buttons, toothpicks, tapioca, paint brushes, birdseed, felt-tipped pens, brown sugar, goose feathers, arsenic or Guinness.

If the glass represents the empty vessel of an individual, should we not be more concerned about the value of what we are pouring into the glass instead of the quantity?

Whether food, knowledge, or experience, whatever we choose to fill our glasses with should be for our growth, nourishment, and benefit.

After each use, we can wash the glass and choose what to place in it again. Sometimes all we need is a taste. Others, a refill.

I’d rather view the glass as my available space to pour from the pitcher of my choosing.

Now, what to select first today?