Perspective is the kind of tool that we don’t normally even think of as a tool, let alone attempt to understand it’s impact on our lives. Looking toward the beginning of a new year, it makes sense to take a closer look at how our perspective affects what we do and our view of who we are. For the most part we consider our perspective to reflect the reality of ourselves and the world around us. We function as if our view of life is a mirror giving a clear image of everything exactly as it is. Might there be a bit more to it than that?
There seems to be a continuum on which our perspective, on any given day or at any given moment, is poised. Not to say that one is good or bad or better than the other, but it can be important to distinguish which is which. How does this perspective or point of view or frame of reference serve us now? What can we learn from viewing what’s happening from a different perspective? How can we keep from getting stuck in one way of seeing or understanding and develop the ability to shift perspective? The bigger question is whether we have a choice in how to view what’s happening in the moment of being in it.
I suspect we develop an affinity for some particular way of looking at ourselves and our life situations. We may have a propensity for diving into a narrow view or a close up of what we are looking at. It can be a matter of focus – sometimes it is more functional to focus awareness on what is right in front of us and other times it serves us better to step back and take a broader view. But there must be a level of awareness that helps us discern which view to lean into or away from.
Sometimes the situations in which we find ourselves cause a shift in our view without our even being aware. When life offers what feels like too much, in the midst of shock or overwhelm, it can seem that we have lost perspective. Unable to focus on detail or take in the bigger picture, how is it possible to sort through what is in front of you? Seems the first step is to appreciate exactly where you are right now – breathing in and out in a conscious way, feeling your body whatever way it is at the moment and simply noticing. Being mindful of what’s happening now.
Most of what gets in the way during times like these is the drive to act or respond in the face of not knowing what to do next. Or it may be the desire for the situation to be different. In either case, your energy is committed to this drive or that desire. If instead, you take a deep breath and allow yourself to be fully where you are, you open up space for a shift in perspective and a choice to be made. Being in the present moment supports your ability to step back and take in the bigger picture and also to focus in on the detail but to do both in a less energetically attached way.
Appreciate that this way of being present to yourself is essentially a moment of freedom. Enjoy it. Savor it. Acknowledge that it will change. And smile, because you can always get it back.