a few steps to the left

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find a new vantage point

I’ve been thinking about perspective lately. How objects change shape as we move away from them, and different aspects like texture and colour are altered depending on where we stand or position ourselves. Or the way objects flatten when we look at them from above and how this cancels out the nuances of their contours. I’ve also been considering the difference when I look at an object from below rather than straight on, how something ordinary and small can dwarf me by its presence, even make me feel pinned down by its weight. Then there is the way we look at something from one side or the other, by changing the spatial distribution of a familiar object it can suddenly appear alien, or we can remain oblivious to the unseen part that is full of beauty or conversely in ruins.

These musings on perspective have sprung out of a recent visit with my mother with whom I had a somewhat  uncomfortable and at times tumultuous relationship with in my teens, which has since mellowed into a quiet and comfortable companionship. During the visit I had a growing awareness of how my perspective had altered and how this had allowed our relationship to improve, that the benefits of time and experience had softened my expectations and allowed compassion and empathy to flow.

the surprising underside of a ‘Stink’ bug

This experience is easily transferred into a plethora of relationships where either friends, lovers, work colleagues or children have taken on new shapes depending on my emotional, physical and intellectual distance.

I am reminded that it is good to stand back, to move forward, to walk to the other side of the valley, to view another’s actions and words from a different height, to flip the microscope over to a telescope or vice versa. To trust that with a few whirls of the dial, a few tweaks to the scene, a few paces to the left or right, up or down, that perspective alters and we may glimpse beauty we had forgotten existed, we may find a place in our hearts where forgiveness flows naturally, we may be warned of impending trouble and have time to beat a dignified retreat.

Whatever the stance of my current perspective I am heartened to remember my outlook is ultimately influenced by love and that love flows depending on the channels I have dug in my heart. I can deepen the stream and find new reserves of love in the substratum of my being, I can unplug an old dam that is no longer needed or plug up a new one to create a reservoir for a special need, I can let love trickle quietly like a brook down the side of a pebbly, moss covered mountain or I can let it surge like the ebb tide as it rushes into the sea.

If I let love govern my perspective I will allow myself to be shifted around so that I may understand and appreciate the complexities bound up within each life and situation.

beauty in the act of diminishing

If I catch myself going on about so and so, or such and such, I will endeavour to remember that tomorrow my perspective will have changed, if not tomorrow next week or next year, and what may appear to be white will become black, what was once blue will be green.

Faced with a new object, be it human, a situation or otherwise, before locking down our opinion and throwing away the key, let us remind ourselves that perspectives change, that yesterday’s angst may be reframed into tomorrow’s blessing. Let us smile at our own inconsistencies and consider the words of Allan Klein, ‘a little perspective, like humour, goes a long way’.


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