Tag Archives: perspective

A new look at beauty

“Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it”

-Confucius

Lately I’ve found myself thinking about what the definition of beautiful really is. The world is full of beauty but each of us seems to have a different idea or perspective on what beauty is.

I used to compare myself all the time to people based on how they looked and what I judged to be beautiful. But both age and experience has changed my opinion of what beautiful really means. To me, what makes a person beautiful depends on how they treat others and their actions, not their appearance. Beauty is not in what the eye sees but rather what the heart feels and how it speaks to our soul.

Earlier this morning, while trying to watch the sunrise, although it was very cloudy, I was reminded something about beauty, that sometimes you have to change your perspective in order to find it. Despite the dark clouds and incoming rain, the sun managed to peek through for a while. It’s brilliant orange rays glowed against the little bit of blue sky and reflected off the water. It was absolutely beautiful! But when I turned my head to look at the sky in the other direction, it was completely different but equally as beautiful. It was filled with various shades of grey and black clouds mixing together. The colors seemed to be airbrushed and looked as if someone had cleaned out dirty lint from a dryer vent, placing it in the sky. So there I sat, captivated by both sides of the sky. One side was majestic and radiant while the other was ominous and threatening. Both were beautiful, captivating, and spoke to my soul.

Although it was not a typical blue sky and cloudless sunrise that I’m used to, it was still a beautiful way to start the day. Sometimes, more than often, in order to find beauty in life, we need to adjust our perspective. You never know what beauty you might find.

“Butterflies can’t see their wings. They can’t see how beautiful they are but everyone else can. People are like that as well.”

-Anonymous

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Lessons from the wind

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind

As you could probably tell from my last post, I am obsessed with Disney and on a mission to share my interpretations and memories of some iconic songs.

“Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas, in my opinion, is one of Disney’s greatest hits. Not only is it easy to sing along, which I’ve done several times, (it’s not pretty though) but Colors of the Wind is full of so much wisdom and thought-provoking questions.

As I read over the lyrics last night, my mind felt blown!  As a child, I listened to this song almost everyday and thought the lyrics related so well to the movie but now as an adult, realize the beautiful messages in this song that can be transferred to our daily lives. Seriously, there are a lot of issues in our world today that could be resolved or viewed differentaly by listening to this song. (not trying to sound political but just saying, that’s my political rant)

An overall theme of the song is about broadening one’s perspective, how often we are blinded by ignorance or narrow-mindness. The song starts out by saying:

You think I’m an ignorant savage
And you’ve been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see
If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don’t know? You don’t know

Lesson #1

Although, this may seem self-explainatory, it is something that is much easier said than done.  We are all guilty of judging others, it is part of our human nature. We often think that if we’ve met one, we’ve met them all. Or that anyone who doesn’t dress, think, or act like us, they should be treated like outcasts.
For example, I have one friend from college that before we ever even spoke to each other, I had a preconceived notion of her (which turned out to be absolutely false) She had designer clothes, designer bags, her hair and makeup was always flawless, never seemed troubled by anything, and always surrounded by friends. Well, you can imagine how stupid and terrible I felt when the two of us started to work together on a group project and we got to know each other better. The way she put others before herself, how she saw the best in everyone regardless of their looks, and how upon asking “how are you?”  in passing, she genuiely was interested in you; not just in making small talk. She is an incredible person and I am so glad my own ignorance didn’t keep me from gaining such an amazing friend..

There is a saying “don’t let one bad apple ruin them all”. Don’t let your own ignorant, preconceived notions, or bias ideals, blind you from seeing the truth.

Lesson #2
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

As cliche as this is and is repeated over and over, it is true. Everything in life has a reason. Native Americans believe there are spirits everywhere and although I’m a Christian, I definitely can understand what they’re saying. But also from a physical viewpoint, plants provide oxygen, earth provides foods that we eat, water to drink, and animals to watch over( either to provide us with food or to love and care for) Everything has a reason and they deserve our respect.

Lesson #3

This is my favorite part!

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew

This ties in with the lyrics from before and is something I’ve touched on a million times in my blog. One of the greatest downfalls of humans is being narrow0minded; seeing the world only from our perspective and nothing more. By doing this, we are shutting the door on so many wonderful experiences, opportunities, and suprises the world has to offer.

Although many stories come to mind, one in particular is that of high school. Many of the teachers were uncomfortable with my lack of balance or unsteady gait to explain it best. I would take step, hoping my feet would do what my brain told them. Sometimes I’d take one step forward and two steps backwards. I used to stumble and fall a lot, never usaully seriously injuring myself but there was always that concern. Many of the teachers wanted me in a wheelchair but I explained (several times too many) that this was something I was not interested in. How I had once been in a wheelchair but was stubborn and determined to walk again, even if it was not perfect. And that I had no interest in going back into a wheelchair, it was non-negotiable for me. Well, you can imagine how well that went with some teachers.

After plenty of teacher meetings and feeling attacked, I decided it was my job to educate these teachers on what it is like to be physically disabled and to have a physically disabled student because they didn’t really understand either. And if they weren’t educated on this issue, then how was it fair of me to expect them to understand what daily life was like for me being disabled and why the thought of any assistive device didn’t sit well with me? It was with this conclusion that they started to see more through my perspective but also I began to see from their eyes.Both sides decided to let go of the wheelchair idea and along with finding a greater respect for each other, we we’re able to find an even ground..

Maybe that’s not the greatest example but hopefully it makes you think. There are many times where arguments or disagreements could easily be solved by pausing and trying to learn what it is like to walk in the footsteps of a stranger. Everyone is unique with a different upbringing, a different way of thinking, and a unique perspective. Although frusterating at times, this is what makes the world such a great place, no one of is exactly alike and we all can learn something from each other. Even if we don’t see eye to eye, we can still listen and acknowledge contrasting perspectives, opinions and beliefs.

Lesson #4

How high will the sycamore grow
If you cut it down, then you’ll never know

This ties in with Lesson #1 and 3#. We are quick to judge based on first glance or what we perceive the situation to be and by doing this, we often turn our backs on something great. Something that could challenge our thinking, improve who you are as an invidual,  or enable us to grow.  And don’t we all want to grow?


poc

We need to sing with all the voices of the mountain
Need to paint with all the colors of the wind
You can own the earth and still
All you’ll own is earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind

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Life is like a Ferris wheel

 

“If you’re gonna make a change, you’re gonna have to operate from a belief that says life happens not to me, but for me”
-Tony Robbins
It’s been said a million times before but isn’t it funny how a song brings back a memory?
While watching a football game a couple weeks ago, I heard I feel good by James Brown being played throughout the stadium. Immediately, my mind went back in time and was reminded of a time  of dancing on desks.

It was after school, I was in second grade and just hanging out in my mom’s classroom. For some odd reason, don’t ask me why, but that song was stuck in my head.  So naturally, I started dancing, yes I was that weird kid who randomly started dancing. One thing led to another and before you know it, I was dancing on the desks to a song no one else could hear but me. I was full of energy and unstoppable.

That night, my mood unexpectedly changed, almost as if someone flipped a light switch. By that time, I had already undergone my first brain tumor surgery and that night, it became obvious the tumor was back. I started vomiting uncontrollably, felt as though someone was taking a sledge hammer to my head and my desire to dance was gone.Within a week, I had another surgery to remove the tumor a second time.
For most people who follow my blog, you know things slowly went downhill after that but then with a lot of faith and determination, things went uphill. The tumor came back a third time, I received radiation treatments instead of surgery. The radiation destroyed the cancer but scattered throughout my brain, nearly killing me and leaving me physically disabled. I fought for my life, proved some people wrong along the way, and continued to grow, never letting anything keep me down for too long.
As I was thinking about this memory, it reminded me of how quickly our lives change, for the better or for the worst and with each change, you gain a new perspective. Change in life is like riding a Ferris wheel, as it spins around and around, your view constantly changes. The view from the top is completely different from the view at the bottom or in the middle.  But each view is unique and allows you to see life from a different angle.
A sudden change in my health was not the greatest news and dealing with cancer was not a positive change in my life but it gave me a new appreciation for life, a new perspective. Maybe I don’t dance on desks anymore but I still dance all the time, just safely on the ground.
“Here’s the truth, your situation is never permanent; it’s what you make it. Life is not solid, it’s liquid, it changes.”

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Don’t hate on the end piece

There’s something so comforting about a freshly baked loaf of bread. Whether it’s slathered with butter, olive oil, or tomatoes and cheese. Or if the bread is little crusty or smooshy, I don’t discriminate. I’ve never met a bread I don’t like. Those who give up or limit your  carbs, kudos to you, because that’s something I could never do.

But when it comes to a baguette or a nice loaf, I head straight for the end piece.  One of my favorite memories of Msgr. Art is how we used to argue over the end piece of bread. He always said it was a sin to waste good bread. I’m not really sure why we fought over this but what I do know is that I usually got my way.

So many people throw away the end pieces of bread loaves or look at them with disgust like they’re contaminated  with an infectious disease. I honestly love the end pieces. They offer the best of both worlds, soft on one side but crusty and crunchy on the other. Because of their rounded shape, the end pieces are easy to dip into soups, sauces, olive oil or hold onto while you butter it.  And because the end protects the rest of the loaf, it is somewhat thicker therefore absorbing more flavor and having a little more compared to the rest of the loaf. The end piece may look weird or get a bad reputation but it’s really not all that bad.

The truth is without the end piece a loaf is not complete. And if you think about it, a loaf of bread is like life in the sense that without difficult times (or that crunchy end piece) you cannot have the good times. And it is those challenging times that help us to grow stronger and learn how to protect ourselves.

“Forest Gump may think life is like a box of chocolates but I say life is like a loaf of bread”

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Perspective in a donut and chocolate milk

I am typically not a huge donut fan but when it comes to chocolate crème-filled donuts, I just can’t resist. And it has to be the custard filling not the whip cream stuff; if I’m going to pig out and take a break from eating healthy than I want only the best!

This past weekend, my mom splurged and got donuts for everyone. The second I saw  mine, I had to have it! Plus the hot weather was melting the chocolate and it probably wouldn’t have tasted as good if I didn’t eat it right away. No sense in wasting food.

While eating my ginormous donut and getting chocolate all over my face, I was taken back to a particular time when I had these donuts with chocolate milk. (I probably sound like such a fat kid but isn’t it weird how some foods have a specific memory?) But I remember that day exactly. It was in early February and very cold out.  My mom, who is a teacher, needed to go work in her classroom and because it was over a break, there were no kids in the building. Not wanting to leave me at home alone, I went with her.

I remember she took mats and blankets for me to lay on so I could watch TV, have my donuts and chocolate milk while she did school work.  In my memory, that was a great day! I was comfy,  just watching TV, had a full stomach, and content.  Well, I brought this memory up to my mom and she just shook her head, laughing. How I remember that day is much different from her memory.

According to her, that was an awful day and shortly after the doctors told her I would die within weeks. She remembers standing in the hallway, sobbing to the other teachers in the building and trying to keep me as happy as possible while she still could.

As I devoured my donut the other week, this memory came back to me. It is amazing how our perspectives can influence events in our lives. Maybe my parents had just received terrible news and looking back that was a difficult time in my life; I was on so many pain meds, those years seem like a blur. But at that moment, my needs were met and I had food,  surrounded by loving people,  and I was having a cool camp-out in my mom’s classroom. Maybe my life was a disaster; having no facial movement, barely able to even crawl or slither, numerous other health issues, and having very little hope. But at that moment, I didn’t look at the big picture, I just saw what was in front of me and I was happy.

I think that is something most people, especially me, struggle with; our perspective on life, changing it for the better and choosing to see the positives in life. Being a teacher, my mom usually dreads August but this year, she’s decided to embrace it and change her perspective by saying today is the best August 12, 2015 ever! Because in all honesty it is, we only have one chance at living each day, unless you’re Marty Mcfly and mastered time travel.   So today and everyday, before you start to be negative, I challenge you to change your perspective and see the positives in your life.

Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect.

It means that you’ve decided to see beyond the imperfections and enjoy the day

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Filed under Being disabled, Positive attitude towards life