October 6, 2012
Affirmation: I am a lifelong learner.
Our vision is a gift, one of our most valued senses. How we see the world colors our whole attitude. Have you ever heard “It’s 10% aptitude and 90% attitude?” What about the difference between an optimist and a pessimist? “A pessimist is right 100% of the time.” We get to choose moment to moment whether or not we will see the glass half full or not. What if we could simply put on a different set of specs to help us change our perspective?
There are people who want to expand their view of the world and then there are those who want to stay in their safe places. Unfortunately, it’s easier to stay “safe” especially as one ages. If you’re not careful, your world can become smaller and smaller. You may start making choices to stay safe which begin to limit your experiences. One must make a conscious choice to continue to learn and to grow. I once heard it said, “You can be green and growing or ripe and rotten.” It’s our decision.
It’s helpful to be able to see when we want to move forward. Sometimes, however, it’s more important to look back, to see where you’ve been and what you’ve learned from the road previously taken. No matter in what direction we are looking, or from what vantage point, high or low, we can use our vision to enhance our experiences. A top ten Toastmasters speaker used the topic “The Click that Sticks” to talk about his life experiences and how instead of trying to capture everything on a camera lens, he chose to imagine his eyes being the camera and recording the event onto his brain, making it “the click that sticks.”
I wonder if people’s height has anything to do with how they see the world? I know I love being up high. I love it when I have the opportunity to look at the world from a plane, a mountain or a even a hill. I’m 5 feet tall, so usually my vantage point is upward. One day many years ago at a NCAA basketball tournament I left my seat during intermission to find a pay phone (many,many years ago) and call home. The sign for the phone was several yards up ahead at the end of this very long line. My view was so limited that I could barely see the top of the sign because of all the tall men in front of it. I was surprised so many people needed to use the phone, until I got closer. I was in line for the men’s room. My vision had been so limited, I waisted time waiting on the wrong line.
At some point in our lives most of us find ourselves wearing glasses to help us see. Some need glasses at an early age, others not until they are older. There are many different types of eye conditions that require some help to allow people to see clearly. Sadly, for some glasses can’t help at all, they are blind.
Have you ever been in complete darkness, no little LED lIghts anywhere, no moonlight, nothing but blackness? I once participated in a smoke lodge ritual. The rocks were heated for several hours before they were placed in the center of the makeshift tent. Once the inside of the lodge they reached a sauna like temperature, then we were invited into the session. The heat enveloped us and began to immediately sooth any aching muscles. Then, they closed the flap. I couldn’t breathe! Suddenly, the heat felt like I was being wrapped in a heavy flannel blanket, from head to toe. “Deep breath!” “Deep Breath!” I told myself. Then I noticed there was a tiny bit of light seeping in under the edge of the flap. I was saved! I found my breath.
Helen Keller was blind from birth. Not only blind, but also deaf. Her story so well know as The Miracle Worker tells the tale of a young girl completely isolated from society because of her disabilities. But, with the help of a gifted and dedicated teacher, Anne Sullivan, she became a world renown author, political activists and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person (man or woman) to earn a Bachelors of Art degree. She had “vision” even though she did not have sight.
One of my efforts to stay green involved going to a writing workshop at the John C Campbell Folk School. There Patricia Sprinkle, our teacher and gifted author asked us to write a description of a familiar place. Seven students sat in the cozy “writing lab” overlooking the green meadows and tree covered mountains. It was the beginning of fall and the trees had just begun their colorful metamorphosis. We all wrote about some place we knew well and then we shared our stories. But, we had left things out, things like the doors and the windows of our familiar places, things that we saw all the time but had stopped noticing. Patricia suggested we put on our “writer’s glasses” to enable us to see things in a new light.
One of my study groups in my church is working on how we can improve our relationship with God. The lady who does the DVD lecture told a story about wearing her “blessings from God” glasses. She said she imagined them to be rose tinted and enabled her to more easily see the gifts God bestowed on her on a daily basis. Now, our writing instructor was telling me to put on “my writing glasses” to enable me to see the world differently than I was use to seeing it, to help me see it from more than one vantage point or to renew that which had become familiar to me.
I like the idea of putting on different lenses to see different things in my life not only more clearly, but differently. Perhaps, that’s what it was like for Helen Keller. Even though she couldn’t see and she couldn’t hear, she put on the “glasses” that Anne Sullivan created for her and she was able to see the world in so many different ways, perhaps more clearly than many of us sighted people.
Shakespeare wrote “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” What happens to our souls when we put on different glasses? Anything? Does it expand and grow? Does it change color, become kinder, warmer? Does our expanded vision bring us closer to our spiritual self, to our God? The answer is, it’s up to you. You get to choose what you want to see and how you expect it to impact your life. My newest pair of glasses to don are my “writer’s glasses” and I’m very curious to see what my new “glasses”, my new vision will reveal to me. What about you? Is there anything you’re interested in seeing from a different perspective? It doesn’t have to be a new subject for which you might need different glasses, perhaps it’s a relationship or it might be a philosophical perspective. Put on your new glasses, change your vision, broaden your horizons. It may just be the tool you too need to see your dreams or concerns in a whole new way.