Good morning!!

I hope you are off to a fantabulous November-ish start to your week. I would like to share with you today a Soul Food offering, that when mindfully considered and used, can foundationally change any life or relationship ?challenge? you come across. Not that any of us every have those, eh? (wink)

The same thing, seen from a different and wider perspective, looks different.

?Huh??

If I am standing at the ocean?s edge, and I am looking at the view through my camera viewfinder, I only see a portion of the view. If I take the camera away, now I can take in the full view of what is in front of me. The picture that I was seeing through the viewfinder is still in there, but it is now incorporated into a much larger picture. And the larger picture includes full perspective, in all its majesty. Sweet! And?

If I stand on one side of a curved beach and take a picture, the sun is at my back and the ocean is lit up all lovely and the picture is clear. If I stand on the other side of the beach and take a picture, the sun is coming straight at me and the picture is all blown-out and really doesn?t look so lovely at all. They?re both of the same beach. One lovely and one not-so-much.

This is a metaphor for how powerful the broadening and/or changing of our perspective can be. Not only in landscapes, but in all of life. Including relationships. Especially relationships! Relationships with parents, children, friends, lovers, partners, teachers, students, colleagues, bosses?all and any relationship.

We tend to view a relationship through one perspective: ours. This often tends to be the viewfinder-only frame, in blow-out mode perspective. We tend to focus on what ?they did? and how ?they made us feel.? So we?re on one side of the beach, only looking through the viewfinder, with the sun straight at us. Bummer.

First off, no one can make us feel anything. They just do and say stuff, and then we choose how to react or respond. Next, there are three questions that you can ask yourself, based on Naikan practice, that will help you widen and shift your view of any relationship or situation:

  1. What have I received from ______?
  2. What have I given to _______?
  3. What troubles and/or difficulties have I caused _______?

?Laurie Warren! You silly person. Those seem like incredibly simple questions.?

And they are. Your ability to get the wider, more clear view will not come from intense intellectual ponderings, lists of pros and cons, or complex theories on life and relationships. Nope. The challenge, and invitation, is to simply see reality as it is. Which can be challenging!

Like many valuable things, this is simple, but not easy. I encourage you to look at it as a ?practice??something that requires time and continued mindful engagement in order for it to start to get easier (and deeper). Give it a whirl, hopefully with an approach of play and curiosity, and see what you learn about yourself, other people, and your relationships. Remember, whatever this uncovers for you, please be nice to yourself! This is NOT an invitation for you to uncover a different perspective, and then start being all judgmental with yourself. K?

Creating vibrant health is a process, not a prescription.

With love & perspective,
Laurie

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