On Perception

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because its trust is not on the branch but on its own wings.


Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I perceive the world. I believe that if we don’t like what we see, and we can’t change it (for example, a tree is a tree), how we perceive it can change how we feel about it. Using that example, if I don’t like a tree, why don’t I like that tree? Is it the shape of the branches? Is it that it is blocking my view of the water? Is it the pollen it releases that triggers my allergies? Is it the mess every year when the leaves fall and I have spend hours cleaning them up instead of doing something else? Once I figure out why I have a negative reaction to the tree, I can decouple it, work on that, and appreciate the tree for all the other things it is. The shade in the summertime. Photosynthesis. The beauty of the leaves in the fall (there is just nothing like a New England fall). The branch I hang a tire swing on and push my children for enjoyment. So to sum it up–perception changes my view of the world and allows me to move differently in it. Now this doesn’t always work when there is an inequity or inequality that is present, but even then, perception changes how I respond and how I handle the issue. (If you know me, then you know complacency is not in my vocabulary, but there is also tremendous value in alternate perceptions that can change our perspective, and I’d argue it’s critical to a cohesive, optimal solution).

Recently, I’ve been dealing with several challenging issues in my life. Some are of my own making and some are not, but the commonality is how I choose to acknowledge, process, and respond. Some are more emotionally traumatizing than others, especially where the pillars that support the foundation I built my world upon are being destroyed or shifting. These are the things that can change who and where I am in an instant, and they are the ones that cause the most anxiety and at times grief. In all cases, I’m dealing with some soul shaking stuff that to be honest, has me free falling just a bit. At times it is overwhelming and I shut my office door and put my head down and cry. Some nights, I sit in my home and see all the stuff I should be doing to improve it, but I’m numb and scroll through my Twitter feed (thank you Twitter friends for the positive vibes). I make decisions that sometimes undervalue who I am and contribute to a cycle of feeling not enough. Other times, it is liberating to be released from roles that have constrained my growth, my spiritual journey, that have limited who and what I can be. To be a better me, not just for myself, but to be a better parent, a better daughter, a better friend, a better colleague, a better human. To be true to myself and path and know that as I rise, I help the others in my life I care about. This is a heady feeling of empowerment that is tantalizing, as I know that I’m at the cusp of a beginning, the one where I am who I’ve always been, yet am only now harnessing. But with growth comes the inevitable death-the death of what once was-to clear space for the new.

Transformation is a messy process, but for me it’s always led to being more than I was and I normally welcome it. What I struggle with every-time is what do I keep? My current challenges are ones that will force me to make choices of what I take and what I leave behind; what pieces of me do I discard as they no longer serve? But this time as at no other time in my life, the pieces of me include pieces of others and that is where the heartache lies. Fundamental change radiates outwards, and when it is over, not only will I be different, but the landscape will be new and though exciting, a place I’ve never been without pieces of me I thought I’d never let go.

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