Monday, April 28, 2008

Perspective is everything

I'm coming to the realisation that this fact is more powerful than I ever gave it credit for.

I used to look at this saying and dismiss it in my mind somewhat, as being a bit prosaic and unnecessary. Whatever situation you are in will only ever have the perspective you give it right?


Thing is...the human mind is somewhat inclined to imagine and construct only those perspectives that it has either seen before or can imagine as occurring under similar circumstances. The mind rarely concludes a perspective that is outside of its own experience or knowledge.

It's important to develop a vast range of perspectives so that one doesn't get trapped inside circles of thought where only a few beliefs - aka perspectives - and points of view - aka perspectives - are available to you.

The addendum to perspective is Knowledge but that's a topic for another day.

When I was a little girl, I was drawn to an article in an old Australian women's magazine about Oracles.

There was this big chart in the magazine with lots of symbols and a page of questions you could ask. You held the question in your mind and then closed your eyes and asked that question and then when you felt the moment was right you waved your finger over the page of symbols and then pointed blindly.

On opening your eyes, you would see the symbol you had chosen and then could look up the corresponding "answer" to your question.

It was good fun albeit my christian friends would scream in horror that it was a great "evil" I am sure. Enough of that for now.

One of my questions as a child was "Will I travel?". Even as a kid I longed to see the places of the world I had read about in my beloved books.

The oracle came back with this answer "You will go on one long one that will cost you a very great deal".

I never forgot that.

In my childlike innocence, I processed that answer quite literally and absorbed it into my consciousness as a "truth" that could not be broken. For years and years, I've believed that I would only ever go on one trip overseas that would cost a great deal.

As the years went by, I did indeed go on a long trip overseas. I went as a mission group member of what was then called Lutheran Youth Encounter to the USA and India. That trip did not cost me much in terms of finances, but I did learn I was losing my eyesight and eventually lost the sight...and the beauty...of my left eye.

I thought that was the answer to that oracle sorted there.

It isn't.

Perspective is everything.

I finally grew up! And only this month I realised something about that answer regarding trips and travel that made me laugh out loud at my own stupidity!

You see...the oracle said "You will go on ONE trip that will cost you a very great deal". It didn't say it would be my ONLY trip!

My childlike perspective at the time was inclined to see the word "one" and assume it meant "only". I did so for many years with great heart-seated disappointment that I would never get to travel as much as I had dreamed.

Perspective now teaches me that there are many options within one answer. I will go on more trips, some long, some short over time. Some of these may perhaps cost me a great deal too, financially, emotionally, physically and some of them may not.

That answer implied I would have *A* trip in my life. I had a perspective until recently, that believed "one" meant "only".

Now that I am much older than my childlike self, I have realised that my options aren't limited after all.

Perspective is everything.

The balancing act I perform between my assumptions about reality and my emotional perspective, is as if I stand on a rope bridge of self-limiting beliefs. I fear the heights, so I cling to the ropes of a particular perspective.

There are other ways of managing the rope bridge that bring value to my perspective. And maybe, bungee jumping off the side of that bridge could be one of them.

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