Same day in August
Same lakeside beach
Same orange hammocks
Same two people
Same hanging sandals
Yet quite different.
~ Barbara Shipka
Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
~ Marcus Aurelius
One meaning of perspective is related to point of view. Literally, that means that what we see and understand is because of where we are standing. If we move and stand somewhere else, our point of view will change – either literally or figuratively or both.
Another meaning of perspective has to do with building a context for what we see and understand: a bigger picture. This is especially useful when our vision becomes myopic and focused on the detail in front of us. I think of how very stressed people can become during events such as elections. It can feel like if we falter or fail, the whole world will come to an end. It’s most likely not true but because the faltering or failure feels threatening and scary we come to believe that it is true. Imagine!
Living and traveling around the world for many years has helped me better understand that a lot of what we assume and believe is relative. Yet our assumptions and beliefs are also based on what we have learned from our families about the ‘right’ way to do things. During my very first experience abroad I lived and studied in what was then Czechoslovakia. I was surprised by how the family I was living with kept the butter dish on the table all of the time. My mother had taught me to always put it in the refrigerator at the end of every meal. In the end, it seems that both ways work just fine.
May we experience tolerance for different perspectives and points of view and for different ways of doing things in the coming days, weeks, months, and years.