Monday, June 30, 2008

Learning from Another's Perspective

Today I was reminded of an experience
I had when I was a child.

I grew up with my grandparents, and
my grandmother was losing her sight,
and was in and out of a wheelchair
since she had broken both hips.

What I remember was one day I heard
somewhere - on the TV or radio - that
if you wanted to appreciate someone
who was blind, and what they were
going through, you should walk around
with your eyes closed, or in some way
unable able to see.

I couldn't have been more than eleven
at the time. I don't remember if there
was anything about not being able to
walk, or about wheelchairs, but I
remember, at one point wheeling around
with her chair, and walking around
with my eyes closed.

My grandmother caught me at one point,
and was really upset. She didn't get
why I was doing what I was doing. She
told me that I should be grateful for
my sight. I wish she could have realized
that what I was doing was an exercise
in appreciation, which could definitely
translate into gratitude.

Instead, coming from her perspective
which was a life severely limited by
the changes in her body, she was angry
and, I think defensive - somehow thinking
I was mocking her.

I don't remember much about my childhood,
but somehow I always remembered that.

It must have been the strong emotion
conjured inside of me from the hurt
my grandmother felt in her lack of
understanding, coupled with
my understanding of the intent
of the person who made the suggestion.

I was reminded of this today when I saw
the following video on YouTube.
It is about dining in the dark. It is
about how the other senses get fired
up when the one that many of us depend
on the most is unavailable.

The video is awesome in a few ways,
because besides showing sighted people
a thing or two to appreciate, it also
shows how those who live
with compromised sight, can function
well enough to even be the wait staff.

If you have a couple of minutes,
maybe you want to check it out. Maybe
you'll find yourself with an
interesting perspective to consider
in the process. After all, perspective
is appreciated the most when there
are a few to choose from. Don't you
enjoy the chocolate cake that much more
when you choose it over the carrots? :-)

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Perspective on a Book Banning

Did you hear about the teacher who was banned
from teaching until next September because
she had her students reading a book called,
The Freedom Writers Diary? (Click to see
more about the book on Amazon)

Here is the video featured on CNN:
The Story about Connie Heermann

The part that stuck with me the most about
the story is toward the end of the video.
Someone from the community is saying how
she believes that Connie was sending a
poor message "if you're told no, do it
any way. It it feels good do it."

It's hard to know in a relatively short
video all of the details of the story.
Apparently, the teacher sent home
permission slips to the parents. Out of
150, she got 149 giving her permission
to teach the book from the parents.

The trouble came when the school told
her to take the books back, and she
decided otherwise. She decided that
the book was something that the kids
she was teaching should see, and she
acted on her own.

If you think about it, maybe there was
another way she could go? Maybe there
was another way she could have acted
within the environment that could have
been more acceptable?

And, maybe not.

My point here is more about how there
is a presumption that when "I" say so,
that is the way it should be. Forget
what you want, or why you want it, and
just follow ME blindly because I know
what is best.

I am fairly certain that anyone who
might be reading this has had at least
ONE occasion in your life when you acted
contrary to what you were told, because
YOU knew better, and YOU knew why what
you were doing could be of some benefit
to yourself or others - and,
more importantly - YOU were right.

I would never say that the "I" is never
right...but I would say that it is a
wise person and society that takes a
moment to question what is being said,
and why it is being said, and explore
it in a personal context before making
a choice.

After all, with July 4th around the corner,
what better example of this exact type of
thinking is there than the United States?

The colonists looked at what Britain
wanted and claimed. They heard what,
in Britain's eyes was best, but those
who were the US' founding fathers thought

I wonder - did they send a poor message?

I know it's not the same, but pretending
like something doesn't exist, or ignoring
the presence of some behavior or words,
won't make them go away. If that was so,
all of those well behaved adults we have
in our culture would have well behaved

Sometimes the best way to deal with something
is to stare it in the face. I would say
that even though the teacher was wanting
to say "you're not alone," she was also
choosing not to ignore what is present,
choosing instead to face it head on.

It's too bad the school board/community
didn't see it that way. Sometimes we
don't like the answers to the questions
we are asked, but there are times that
the actions taken by the rebel
can produce the results those who are
saying "Shhh" (both metaphorically and by
their actions) are attempting to accomplish.

I haven't read the book, or seen the movie,
but I would be willing to bet the teacher involved
in the story was a rebel of sorts, herself.
Apparently, the language was harsh,
but the results speak for themselves.

My question to that community is this,
"Are things better or worse than they
were 5-10 years ago?"

If they're worse, and you've been acting
the way you've been acting, what do you
have to lose by choosing something else?

Have you ever noticed that there are
times when the more you try to control
something, the more difficult it is to
control? I am sure you've probably
noticed that often times a "bad" thing
only gets worse when you
try to stuff it down.

You may think you're right, and maybe
you are. However consider this:

A champion is only a champion when
he goes up against another, and emerges
victorious. You can claim a victory
in this case, but how do you know
that what you think is best truly is,
if you haven't allowed your theories
and beliefs to be tested?

Of course, this is just MY perspective,
and that is the beauty of it all,
we all get to have one.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Perspective on Perspective

Tonight there is going to
be a full moon that
will look HUGE.
Some will think that is
larger than usual
by its appearance.
If you want some more
info about the actual event,
click here.

It got me thinking about
my favorite subject,
(you guess it!)
In one dictionary
perspective is defined as
"view or vista."

I thought it an interesting
definition to focus on in
this context. After all,
it is a literal something
that is being viewed, and
the view - the perspective -
that we will have will be
interestingly skewed.

Someone who knew nothing
about the so-called "reality"
of the moon and its size
could very likely argue
that the moon is larger
than normal tonight. Without
anything to say otherwise,
who would disagree?

That is the way perspective
is sometimes. Sometimes we
view something, and believe
that it is exactly as we
view it to be, because we
have nothing to support a
belief otherwise. Then,
one day, someone, or something
comes along, and gives us
something else to consider,
and we realize that maybe what
we considered "fact" - ie
the moon is larger than normal
sometimes - is actually an

Interesting to note, one dictionary
definition of illusion is
"an erroneous mental representation."

I am not usually one to describe
things in a manner of
"right" or "wrong."
However, if I was going to,
it would be in the context of
what "works" or "doesn't work."
(If it doesn't work, then it would
be "wrong.")

Errors tend to, by definition be
"wrong." In this case, I would suggest
that the "erroneous mental representation"
would be that thing that is having
you feel in some way compromised.

The next time you are in the midst
of something that seems wrong,
perhaps consider that the situation
isn't as "large" as it seems to be,
and consider that maybe there are
some other facts, as yet unknown.
Become aware of the "reality" that
you are arguing for.

If you can take the effort to attempt
to realize a different perspective,
it might be worthy thing to do. In the
end you might feel a heckka of a lot

Recently I was speaking with someone
who had been in a relationship. While
it was good, he was so very happy.
Then, one day, quickly and abruptly
it was over.

He didn't understand it. He knew the
few reasons she had given, and despite
my best efforts to give him a different
perspective, he clung to the conclusions
his perspective gave him - among them
that he wasn't good enough, and because
he had given all he had, and wasn't good
enough, he never would be good enough.

I attempted to explain to him that perhaps
his relationship life wasn't over. Maybe
he was 75% of the way there, and that while
he may not have been "good enough" for her
(which I question, but that is another
conversation) it was ONE person in a world
of many. At the time he was uninterested
in hearing what I had to say about it,
because he was focused on a different
perspective, one he seemed unwilling to
give up.

For some who are reading this, I am certain
you will identify. It hurts when a
relationship ends, especially when you
don't understand it, and especially when you
make it all about you, and your faults,
and inadequacies. I would never say to
point the finger at the other person without
considering your role in it, however, the
same applies in reverse. I would never
suggest that you totally point the finger
at yourself.

There are times in our lives that we must
make choices in regard to insufficient
information. He has a choice to make,
as we all do when a moment like this
appears in our life.

The choice we make will take our life in
a direction that is aligned with that choice.
Some would argue, "it's that I am being
real. I don't want to be delusional."

How do you know that you aren't being
delusional by the choice that you are making
that is having you feel miserable?

Even in the face of someone telling
you something about yourself, consider
that it is their perception which is
grounded in their perspective, their
version of reality, and it doesn't have
to be the one you choose for yourself.

Being caught up in others' realities is
something that often happens, and can be
quite difficult to release ourselves from.
However, if their "reality" doesn't work
for you, perhaps consider that in a "night
or two" you will see the same problem
in a different way. Just like when the
moon will seem to move away. And, when
that happens, you will be able to create
something different that works for YOU.

As a living, breathing human being,
perspective is like breaths we breathe...
there is always another one to be had.
And just like we consciously breathe
at times, we can consciously choose
a different perspective.

If only it was as simple as breathing
seemed to be!

Enjoy the moon tonight. It likely will
be beautiful. :-)

PS the definitions of the words,
came from

Monday, June 16, 2008

Highly Charged Perspective

Once again, an email is behind a post.

I received one recently about Rev. Joe Wright.

Now, before I go a step further, if you haven't
heard about him, let me tell you this topic
touches two things - politics and religion.
When those two things touch, it is always
interesting, wouldn't you say?

I am telling you this because I want you to
know ahead of time what it's about, and also
to let you know that I am not stating where
I stand in relation to the "facts" of the prayer
he gave.

I offer you his prayer, and the ultimate reaction
because I think it is an excellent example of
perspective in action. Everyone who reads what
he spoke of is likely to have a reaction to what
he says, based on where they come from.

For the purposes of this blog, I would say it's
not so much the words that are important, as
much as how he says what he does. Essentially,
he looks at things, and calls them by different
names. One name may seem more positive than
another - and therein lies some of the controversy.

I point to it as a very clear example of how
something could be called one thing by one person,
and another by someone else, and how it is viewed
(as in positive or negative) will depend on the
person's perspective.

I found the whole story at
(great site, btw, if you ever want to know if
something is true). You can see it for yourself at

I tend to think that thinking is a good thing,
and that anything that gets us to question
may likely help us to find the answers we need,
better answers than we already have and/or
better questions.

When playing the role of observer, it is much
easier to ACT in relation to life.
When we already think we know something,
in my opinion, I think we become much
more reactive. I don't know about you,
but oftentimes I think that reaction does
us a disservice. We either are unable to
fully take in something wonderful, or
miss something in our reacting moment,
because we were too caught up in ourselves
to notice.

For example, here's an interesting
thought to consider:
how many of the people who reacted to
Rev. Wright's message potentially
missed an opportunity for
perspective that could have
empowered them as lawmakers?

As always, feel free to let me know your
thoughts, and have a GREAT week!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In History is Perspective

I received an email with the following content today.

I tried to find out if the details are accurate,
but I am not sure of the specifics without
spending the time investigating each one.

I did find an interesting link, addressing it
as an urban legend that is constantly being
revamped. You can view it, if you like here.

If you don't do it already,
you may want to check
when you receive an email
before forwarding it on as "fact."
More than once I have found out
that something I received wasn't
telling the whole truth.
(It is said that there is some truth
in many urban legends).

What I find interesting, in principle, is
to consider how things have changed over the
last decades. It is interesting to see
how perspectives change, and was once "good"
or at the very least "acceptable" has become
something very different years later, or
vice versa. What exactly does that say?

Looking at these types of things with an open
mind (I believe) can help to transform ways of
thinking that might not necessarily be
beneficial and/or helpful to individuals,
or society, as a whole.

It's an interesting conversation
for another day. In the meantime,
I share these tidbits as fodder for thought.

Enjoy the ride.

1908 vs. 2008

The average life expectancy was 47 years.

Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles
Of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!

The average wage in 1908 was 22 cents per hour.

The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year,
A dentist $2,500 per year,
a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year,
and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME .

Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!
Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which
Were condemned in the press AND the government as 'substandard. '

Sugar cost four cents a pound.

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound, and they were actually 1 LB.

Most women only washed their hair once a month,
and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from
Entering into their country for any reason.

Five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars.

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!!!!

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea
hadn't been invented yet.

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write.
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, 'Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.'

Eighteen percent of households had at least
one full-time servant or domestic help.

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE USA!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

What does it mean?

Yesterday I caught part of the movie called The Rookie. It stars Dennis Quaid in the role of a man who was the oldest baseball rookie in "30 years," (so it said in the movie). It is based on a true story. It is a very cool story for many reasons. The one in particular that I am writing to mention is a line in the movie that is said twice, once my the father of Dennis Quaid in the movie, and once by Quaid's character himself.

Interestingly, to me, it seems like the inherent meaning in the words (in the movie context atleast) is one that is designed to limit one's options. Funny thing, though, when I heard it, I heard it quite differently.

I want to quote it directly, however, have been unable to find it on the net, and wasn't able to write it down exactly. So, in order to share it with you, I will do the best version I could get, and later (when I get the movie for myself) I will come back and give the correct version.

The quote is "It's OK to think about what you want to do - until it's time to do what you are meant to do." What I heard with that quote is that you can THINK all you want about things in your life, however, when it is time to step up and BE all that you can be, you'll know it, and you'll stop THINKING about all of the what ifs/coulds/shoulds, and ACT.

To me, it was the epitome of allowing life to flow naturally. To me, it meant that when you are doing what you are meant to do, there is very little (if any) thinking involved. It also felt like "meant" equaled something in the Bigger Picture (perhaps yet unknown).

The movie, several hours later, was followed by Wayne Dyer on PBS, talking about the Power of Intention, and how we can choose to work with Source. He spoke to how it's our free will to choose to work with Source, which knows only positive and good stuff, or not. He spoke of how we tend to get in our own way.

So, then today, I revisited a TED talk with Jill Bolte Taylor. She is a scientist who studies brains, and also had a stroke.

What she speaks of is how she got to experience first hand the roles of the two sides of our brain, and the choice we have as to which part we work from. She provides my favorite word, PERSPECTIVE. It's a beautiful thing. When we are able to see the parts of what drive us, and how and why they do, we are able to interact with them differently than when they are a indiscernible part of our life.

The video is less than 20 minutes, and if you have the time, I think you will find it worth the time to "visit" with her. I have placed a link at the end of this post. She is a great, and even humorous, speaker. In her sharing, I think she actually is a representation of my interpretation of the first quote I mentioned.

She was a brain scientist, thinking about how things worked, until she was given the "gift" of her stroke, until she did what she was "meant" to do. What she has shared is an incredible gift to us all, and without her consciously unintended experience, we wouldn't have received such an amazing perspective of someone so grounded in the body and mind, and yet have a perspective that is so large it goes into the world of things some would call "flaky."

If you are reading this, maybe these pieces will fit into where your thoughts have been recently, or perhaps will begin the chain. Either way, consider that as difficult as change may sometimes seem, it might just be as "simple" as doing something differently, or viewing something in a different light.

Change might be as simple as making a different choice - and doing what you are meant to do could be as simple as making a choice to get out of your own way.

Have a great week!

Jill Bolte Taylor TED Talk