Take Another Look

I’ve discovered that I’m prone to keeping my first impressions and often don’t take another look. Does this ever happen to you?

If you can’t see the banner picture I chose for this post, it’s a pretty famous one. It’s known by different names, and it features what is either a beautiful woman with her face tilted away from you or an old woman with a large hat on her head.

Folks looking at it usually see one image or the other, but not both. And even when told there is another image, they find it very difficult to shake the first one out of their head, in order to see the other.

This has certainly been the case for me with optical illusions, despite knowing ahead of time there is a trick to seeing one or more images, I can’t do it right away.

The same goes for trying to find Waldo in the famous illustrated pictures of ‘Where’s Waldo’, where there are literally hundreds of figures in a picture and you’re trying to find Waldo in his stripped outfit and glasses. Even using a grid search, it’s difficult.

Well, both of these cases made me wonder about whether I would benefit from taking a closer look at my life.

Are there things I miss because I don’t look carefully enough or make up my mind too soon? What would happen if I allowed myself to form a first impression, but recognized it might not be the best impression? And maybe if I took another look, there could be something pretty special waiting for me.

I think to myself, where would I start? If it were up to you, what would you choose?

What I decided was to sit back, relax and see what came to me in the empty space. This is what filled in the gaps.

People in my life.

Is there a deeper story below the surface I don’t see because I’ve already made up my mind? Why have I accepted my formed impressions and could there be more to it?  Perhaps if I watched their actions, as well as listened to the words they speak, I might learn a great deal more about them.

Folks in the news.

Maybe they are not who they ‘appear’ to be and that there is another side to their stories. Would I want folks assuming they knew about me based solely on what others say? I don’t think so.

Events that happen to me.

I wonder about all of my physical issues. Do they hint at something I ought to be paying more attention to, especially if they stay with me or become more intense?

And what about any emotional issues? Are there hidden, deeper messages for me, something far more important than what first appeared to me?

What about any financial issues? Even though I’ve spent time thinking about things, is it possible my initial plans may not hold up? Would it benefit me to do the math one more time and check to see if my assumptions are truly valid?

Then there are spiritual matters. Is what I think I know true or is there something of more value waiting for me to uncover it, something beneath the surface?

Well, for me, part of the value of writing these posts is to explore thoughts and ideas to see if there are treasures that want to come to my attention.

So, instead of stopping at my first impression, I think I’ll pause from time to time and take another look. Maybe you’d like to join me, and we can both have some fun and learn something new.

Expectations

I still find it upsetting when my expectations are not met. It doesn’t seem to matter what size they are, the unsatisfied feelings I get are pretty much the same. Some part of me knows there is a wealth of value in every experience of my life, but, when I’m in the moment, I often can’t see that.

Here’s a real-life example.

Despite all of my best efforts, my first website post wasn’t visible on Sunday, October 4, 2020 at 7:30am as I’d promised and I’d expected.

I confess, I panicked. I sat in front of my computer, frustrated, unhappy and frankly more than a little angry. And, I had no idea how to fix the problem. I believe I might even have said a bad word or two. Okay, I did say a bad word of two.

Even though I eventually found a work-around, I realized I had many more changes that needed to be made so that you could navigate more easily. And, so that you can share your comments and read those which others have written. I’m still working on these.

Looking back, I understand that I reacted very emotionally. Nothing specifically wrong with that, after all, I am human. But, were my reactions helpful and what might have served be better?

Well for one thing, I could have stopped and allowed myself to sit in stillness. I could have breathed in and out slowly until my emotions came to a halt. And, I could have allowed a part of me to stand at a distance and observe what was going on inside of me. From this place I could have acknowledged my feelings, encouraged them to speak to me and embraced them. If I had, I might have understood what was beneath the surface. I might have realized that each feeling came to serve me and offer me a message.

Many years ago, my wonderful friend and Unity minister, Jim Fuller, shared in one of his sermons that it is very important to ‘feel your feelings’. This idea was a foreign concept to me and had not been a part of my cultural training. And yet, I sensed how significant and necessary it could be for me.

So, I began expressing my feelings in a daily journal. It’s been almost six years and I’m still writing every day and discovering truths hidden beneath the surface.

And now, back to my opening paragraph about my unmet expectations. When I stood still and gently breathed in and out and let my intense emotions drain away, I found that my fear of failure sat directly on top of me. Fear that I could not manage the technology necessary to communicate with you. Fear, that despite my deep desire, I could not keep my promises to you and share my thoughts based on when I said I would.

So, I turned to Lia, one of my names for (god), which stands for ‘love in action’, and asked for her wisdom.

She reminded me of a simple, yet powerful message she’s offered me in the past, “just show love”. These words sunk into me and allowed the power of my expectations, and the fears underneath them, to fade away, replaced by a marvelous sense of love.

I hope to remember this wisdom sooner next time.