My office is on the second floor of our home facing our wooded yard. I have positioned my desk so that I have only to look up from my keyboard to feel as though I am in a tree-house. As an amateur bird watcher, I love grabbing the binoculars to get a closer look at the feathered creatures that grace our property. However, as many times as I have picked up those binoculars, I seem to always start from the wrong end and the larger lens. I know better, and could be tempted to blame that action on memory loss from menopause, old age, or something more nefarious. However, I choose to believe that something intuitive keeps inviting me to see the world in a bigger and more expansive way.
So which lens do you look through?
When looking through the small end of the field glasses, what we see will always appear closer – because that is where we are focused. But what about all the things that are just outside our field of “vision”? I am notorious for attempting a difficult task and getting frustrated because I am only focusing on one way of doing the thing. In the past there were many times I have thrown up my hands (or thrown what I had in my hand) and said “there has GOT to be a better way to do this!! Yet for many years my limited vision kept me from going any further. My vision changed when I learned to expand my focus and look for all the possibilities.
How many times in history have we read about how others have persevered because they felt that they could make a “better mousetrap”? They believed that they could improve on the gadget or the process in a way that would make something easier, faster, or more fun. Being curious has always driven humans to explore – whether it be the mystery of their own minds or vast new environments. Taking a cue from the master of curiosity, Leonardo da Vinci, I began to see how I could apply this curiosity to my own life and use curiosity and perspective as a way to improve my life and my relationships. (If you would like to learn more, read the book "How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci" by Michael Gelb)
It pays to listen to what you are thinking. One of the wonderful things about journaling my thoughts is that I can whine about my problems or brainstorm solutions without burdening others overmuch with my drama. Asking myself on the paper “what other ways can I see this?”, or “how can I solve this problem” focuses my vision on new ideas. The fruits of this choice came at 3:00 a.m. one night many years ago. I was lowering my aching body into a hot bath just so I could get back to sleep – chronic pain zapping my life energy. Surprisingly, my thought process shifted to an entirely new perspective that changed the way I thought about my pain. Out of my mouth came words of gratitude to my aching body: “thank you for being so resilient and reminding me you are here and waiting to be cared for”. It was a revolutionary thought for me! Rather than seething with anger and fear, I was giving my body thanks. It was no longer my enemy - but my friend. Now THAT is a new perspective!
No matter what we feel we are struggling with or what has frozen us to inaction, allowing ourselves to step back and observe from another viewpoint can be wildly enlightening. Grab pen and paper and ask yourself some of these questions and see what happens:
- What is this for?
- If someone else was here…what would THEY see?
- What are 5 new ways to look at this?
- How important is this compared to my serenity, my peace of mind?
- What do I desire instead of this?
- What is one step I can take to move forward? Away from? Towards something new?
Yes, there IS a better way!