From Where I Stand: Perspective Changes Everything


Photo: Nicole Harrington

I found myself sitting across a long communal table in the early afternoon. A conversation had sparked about all things inspiring, driven and difficult. We contemplated simple beliefs and systems that were ingrained in our society, but didn’t really have much meaning to us personally. Things we just couldn’t find value in, as well as all of the things that modern day living has managed to strip out of our lives, yet somehow seem so vital to thriving families, careers and global matters. Conversations are golden in that way. The way they can pick up and take off with no ending in sight, no final destination to uphold. In this afternoon, I came across a perplexing thought. One that challenged me to see things from a different angle.

Conversations are golden in that way. The way they can pick up and take off with no ending in sight, no final destination to uphold.

We spoke of how we viewed the events, milestones, people and opportunities in our life. How the idea of failure or a permanent ending to the things and moments in time could be completely rooted in the perspective that you hold and the place you stand (a topic I hope to write about more in depth later). You see, I realized that there are two very distinct ways of thinking and viewing the things that come and go from your life. Either you see yourself and your lifetime as standing on a solid foundation, with the relationships, jobs, travels, homes and the like on a conveyor belt moving to you and then eventually moving on from you. Or, adversely, you see these things and events as stationary and you are the one who moves to them and eventually leaves them for the next thing.

I was coming from a place of feeling that the things I have had, experienced and attained flowed into my life and found me. And it should be noted that this is a mindset that has taken a lot of work to feel rings true. I just now am starting to see the world through this new lens. Yes I have worked for many things in my lifetime, but ultimately I viewed myself on solid, unwavering ground. I would always be there regardless of what came in and out of my life. It was the experiences, the jobs, the friends that were in constant motion, but I was ever present.

My conversational companion had without directing his thoughts envisioned the opposite being true. He seemed to view himself as “coming up on” the things he wanted in life. He was the one in constant motion and was chasing after the things that make up his present reality. Afterall, we are always told that we have to go grab the things we want. We have to “chase our dreams” if we want to make them our reality. But how stressful and anxiety inducing does that sound? This way of thinking and envisioning our lives makes me exhausted and sends the message that we are never enough until we reach them. But what then when these same tangible moments, focuses and relationships exit our lives just as easily as they entered? Did we lose grip of them as they slipped between our fingers? Could this be where the idea of failure has stemmed from? The notion that those things that are no longer present are lost goods and possessions that we wish to keep a tight grip on?

I think both perspectives could arguably be held in a more positive light. But for me, there is something so peaceful, so grounding that comes from seeing myself standing tall amidst the happenings of the world. Amidst the happenings of MY world. They come and go and move swiftly, sometimes dashing away without warning or entering your life at a time where you did not wish to call them in. But regardless they flow. Which means you can never be without, because there is always something else following behind. That conveyer belt is in a constant forward motion, and it takes when you are ready to receive something new. And this is what people mean when they say that the Universe or God is guiding you. Nothing can be truly lost if you realize the impermanence of all things. If you seek these things and allow them to come into your life knowing that they are not yours to keep, but yours to utilize. Yours to cherish, to learn from.

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