Welcome to the fourth in my series of articles on The 8 Essential Ingredients of Healing … from Anything, Anywhere, Anytime.
Today’s Special Ingredient
PERSPECTIVE: Become the observer of the quality of our thinking.
Perspective is all about Point of View. What is in front, behind, or around us depends upon where we stand. What we see depends on our willingness to open our eyes. Nothing on our physical or psychological landscape is flat. We are presented angles, planes, and nuances. Our view shifts imperceptibly or radically based on how much we are willing to rotate.
No matter how much we shift our position, the landscape remains the same. Our view of the landscape is all that has changed.
The Gift of Perspective
Have you ever stood in front of a painting and felt yourself drawn into the depths of the rooms, corners, and crevices portrayed? Did you want to peek behind the red velvet curtain? Have you ever had to step back until a painting came into clear focus? Have you ever wondered how a flat canvas with globs of paint and bumpy brush strokes could evoke deep feelings or stimulate curiosity inside you?
The answer to those questions is Perspective; a technique used by artists to convey multiple dimensions on a flat surface. Perspective is our internal artist. The closer we stand to the picture we are painting about the circumstances in our lives, the less we see of the bigger picture.
Distance and Humor-Two Key Elements of Perspective
Distance allows us to become an impartial observer of our circumstances. We can see in the front, side, and rear view mirrors of what we are thinking simultaneously. We can step away
from our own painful thinking; like a friend pulling us back from a fire we didn’t know was nearby.
Our thought habits become clearer to us. We can actually catch ourselves worrying, being judgmental, or obsessing on a problem.
We begin to see the validity of other views about us, our circumstances, how to make a decision, or solve a problem, without necessarily abandoning our own. It becomes possible for
us to understand that our positions, opinions, and dearly held beliefs may not be serving us well. We become curious about other approaches and ideas.
Perspective is also an antidote to the poison of arrogance. We have the presence of mind to call upon others because we see the value of their expertise and contributions to develop a more creative solution to any dilemma we face.
At a point when tight purse strings were required, the award winning actress, Geraldine Page, once painted the front of her house yellow and left the other three sides a graying white. Her reason? Because that’s all people could see from the road. It wasn’t until people walked around the path that they could see how the house really looked. The yellow house on the hill was Geraldine’s illusion.
The distance Perspective provides allows us to see the entire pic ture-not just the limited illusion we’ve allowed ourselves or others to see.
Humor is the great equalizer. A sense of humor lets us take ourselves less seriously. We can see irony and absurdity.
I saw a play recently which was a memoir wherein the actress said, ” If my life wasn’t funny, it would just be true-and that would be unacceptable.” She was talking about how her sense of humor helped her navigate some very difficult times in her life. When we can see the humor in our past and current predicaments and reactions, it takes the sting away. Haven’t you laughed later about an incident you didn’t find very amusing at the time?
By Penn Rock