a different view...

For the past two weeks or so, my mind has been stuck on this idea of perspective. The word is tumbling around inside of my head like a shoe in a dryer - bouncing off of the sides and making a clunk every once in awhile. What I can't seem to figure out, though, is how to tackle such a huge subject. And what specifically do I want to focus on? I guess I'll just start writing and see what comes out... :) That seems fair to you, right??

It seems fairly obvious that our nation is going through a huge upheaval right now. There is so much hurt, and confusion, and fear - on all sides - that it's hard to wade through to see the forest through the trees. And it's shockingly unfair to always be told to focus on the forest instead of those trees. It's so easy to get stuck in our view and not stretch ourselves any further for fear of being uncomfortable. But I guess this is where the concept of shifting perspectives comes in to play... I'm almost 35 years old, and I feel so naive about the things that are going on in our world. I'll be the first to admit that I have previously been of the mind that I don't want to know all of the terrible or hurtful things that are happening because it just feels like too much. But what kind of mindset is that? Not the kind of mindset that a young and educated person in the United States of America should have right now - or anytime! I can't sit in my comfortable bubble. Like I said to someone yesterday, now is the time to be uncomfortable for the sake of other people's comfort. And now is the time for me, and for so many others in our world, to shift our view. I'm trying. I'm trying so hard. And it's stretching me a lot -- which is a great thing for this creature of habit. 

I'm trying to show love instead of anger. I'm trying to embrace everybody where they are at, and gently nudge when they need a nudge to the side of right. I'm trying to find my own voice in a world full of so many loud voices, about subjects that I've previously been mute on. I wake up every day full of love for the people in my life and the blessings that I have, and I am hoping that I am able to help protect those for other people who feel threatened and scared in our current world climate. I am doing what I can at this moment in time, but I anticipate that with more knowledge and more awareness, that my abilities with continue to grow. I don't say hope - I say anticipate because I know it will grow. 

It's just funny to me how things can look so differently from the exact same spot, you know? I'm the same person I've always been, just evolving and changing constantly. But from my perspective, things are starting to shift. And it feels good. In a world right now where so much feels bad, it feels good to know that I'm digging in and trying to understand. 

I will continue to treat others with kindness, and be a friend to those who are afraid. I will continue to spread love and joy in my world as I am able, no matter who you voted for or where you stand. And I encourage you all to do that same. Because even though I am trying to be vocal against what I believe is wrong, I am choosing to stand on the side of love as I do it. The two are not exclusive - they can go hand in hand. Because as Jackie DeShannon once sweetly sang, "what the world needs now, is love, sweet love. it's the only thing, that there's just too little of."

From where I sit, it's always changing.... Always morphing and moving. 

From where I sit, it's always changing.... Always morphing and moving. 

Maintaining three (four) points of contact...

Last night, I did something that I haven't done in a long time. I had a small panic attack. I had said goodbye to those years ago, I thought, but I found myself knee deep in jagged shallow breathing, shaking, and tears that wouldn't stop... Why then? What was happening, you may ask... My husband had forced (but not really) me in to a small boat.

I have never liked boats, I've always told myself. I know that we have a boat, but it's a motor boat, and even then, it took me awhile to not white knuckle it every time I sat in it. And it has nothing to do with anything that you feel like it would -- it's not the speed, it's not the danger, it's nothing like that. I've just always felt like no matter the size of the boat, I am an elephant daring it to capsize. My whole life I'd stayed away from boats like this. All of the years being at camp, I just simply said "I don't like boats", "I don't do boats." But in all actuality, I had no idea if I liked boats. I liked the idea of them, gliding across the water, feeling the wind on my face. But the idea that I would sink or tip just based on my sheer size paralyzed me from even attempting.

(I'm not fishing for reassurance when I say this (fishing! HA!), I am merely explaining what has held me back from boats for my entire life.)

David so badly wanted to take me out on one, to float the lake that I had grown up in, to let me bask in the stillness and sunshine with him, because for him, boats are calming and relaxing and fun. And because I had put him off for so long, and because it was a perfect night for it, I let him talk me in to it. I struggled to get in to the row boat, feeling it tip back and forth forcefully as I tried to find the perfect spot to put myself. The whole time, David's gentle voice was coaching me, guiding me, and his hands were placed firmly on the boat, keeping it steady. He kept telling me, as I felt the panic welling up inside of me and spilling out (as we stood in one foot of water, mind you), that he wasn't going to let me go, he would never let me go. I knew that he wouldn't. He told me to maintain three points of contact as I settled in (a classic David boat reminder), and in my heart I knew that I would always have FOUR points of contact -- the fourth being my heart to David. I was so scared that I would sink the boat, that we would go tumbling in, even though I am an ok swimmer and would be able to handle myself if it happened. I was just so scared of all of the thoughts that I'd had growing up about being in a boat, and sinking it, and tipping it, would come to fruition and I would be devastated.

My breathing came back to normal, and the shaking subsided, but my fingers were still locked on the bench below me.  David slowly rowed me out to the middle of the lake, reassuring me the entire time as I faced forward, back to him as he rowed. I still had tears coming from before, but they kept going as I realized, and said out loud to him "I've never been out this far before. I've never seen the lake or any of this from this angle." It floored me. The fact that I had been going to that lake since I was a little girl, and had spent every summer out there since, and had never seen any of those places from that perspective on the water was crazy to me. And it was all because of my fear. I had let my fear hold me back from all of it. The longer we were out there, the more comfortable I felt (even though David had to remind me that I could move my head for the first few minutes...), and I began to really look around, and take it all in. I watched the glassy water underneath us, broken by David's oar. I watched fish swim by, and the trees tower over us, and felt the sun shine on my face as I floated closer to places I'd only seen on opposite shores. It was there, in that tin boat with my sweet husband rowing me around and showing me a world I'd been afraid to open up and see before, that I had the realization that I don't want to live life ruled by fear.

Not ever. Well, only in situations where healthy fear is required. But I'm talking about instances like the boat... Will I go out on the boat again? Of course. Now that I know how safe I felt, and how relaxing and calming it was, you bet I will.  And I will not be scared anymore because I know that I have my three points of contact on anything that I do (and one more with my David). I won't be afraid of taking new steps, having new adventures, saying yes to moments that I would shied away from before, of what people think of me, of feeling left behind because I'm too afraid to keep up... I won't. I don't want to be an old woman who is finally stepping into a boat and floating out to see things a new way. I want to live in the moment, say yes to the moment, and never fear the moment. And I know that I can do this with my sweet husband and amazing friends by myself, and with the strength that I have, that has been in me all along. I want to embrace the joy inside of me, and let it explode out of me in everything that I do. I want to view life from all angles, and when I find myself delighted by a new view before me, I want to stand in awe of it and know that I've let myself go all sorts of places, and take joy in the fact that I can still be surprised. <3

This is me. Letting the joy out, and leaving fear behind.
This is me. Letting the joy out, and leaving fear behind.