Monday, September 24, 2007

Changing Perspective

At the Live and Learn Conference I got to hear a wonderful, moving, funny talk. It was Diana Jenner's talk about change. She talked about her life in terms of it being a beautiful lake that she gets to enjoy except when she suddenly finds her perfect view disrupted by the emergence of a tree. She talked about realizing that all she had to do to change that frustration over the tree being in her way was (and here she hopped sideways away from the podium) to move so that the tree was no longer in her way. I love that metaphor. If you want to hear Diana, in all her inspiring Diananess, you can download her talk at the Live and Learn Conference store site (as well as all of the other great talks).

I thought about that tree yesterday, with Gillen's soccer coach taking on the role of the annoying, view-blocking tree, when Nicolas and I were driving two hours to Gillen's soccer game in the North GA mountains. We had woken up super early to work at our farmer's market in Atlanta, had worked there for hours and were now having to get back in the car, really hungry due to not having time to get lunch and....I stopped, in the middle of a high pitched, tired moan, and looked at the beautiful day out the window. I looked into the back seat where my 7 year old was not whining and was reading the book _A Series of Unfortunate Events_ , giggling to himself. I put Eric Clapton and JJCale's CD on to try to tame the farmer's mood. He works really hard and it was the end of a long week, so he was allowed some moaning. And he too was able to change his perspective.

The day ended up being great. Gillen's team won their first game! A loud and bad-mouthed and obviously in the wrong soccer-mom on the other team (who wanted to insist that her kid was in the right and that mine should get a penalty card after her son had roughly pushed my son down) did NOT provoke me to loudly respond to her screeching; I walked away from her to watch the game where I couldn't so easily see or hear her. Gillen hadn't heard her and was fine so why not hop away towards better views. And after the game there happened to be a big bluegrass festival going on in that small mountain city so we got to listen to some amazing music, eat good Mexican and buy their local honey (we're buying local everything when we see it to get ready for our eat local month). Suddenly, the soccer coach tree was not so misguided in his insistence upon scheduling games in far away places. May my side-hopping abilities work well until December, as our Saturdays become about two games of soccer and other long drives. Just a small life-view obstacle. I'm so grateful not to be working my way around any large ones at the moment. Truly grateful.


Tamar Orvell said...

This is THE blog post for me. Just when I spent weeks focusing on what I need to clean up . . . attempting to do the heavy soul work required on approaching the high holy days . . . what happens w the start of the new year? Lapse right back into nasty habits such as focusing precisely on the irritant, the "tree" you describe as metaphor for distraction from our business -- the distraction that is seed for setting off World War III (not that we need more such seeds)! Thank you for helping me NOT TO STARE and obsess at the destruction my neighbor wrought to the tree that stands between us. How her husband took a saw to its limbs...

I can only change my perspective... else I am doomed to continue writhing in rage/resentment against what was done, cannot be undone, and on and on. Ultimately, to paraphrase Victor Frankel, only my attitude can be free of other people's control. Whew.

Madeline said...

I love that quote from Victor Frankel. I'll have to keep that somewhere close by at all times. The removal of a tree, for no good reason, is a VERY large obstruction to a view of your lake. Did you know their reason? Here I go, getting fixated on your tree!

Tamar Orvell said...

Victor Frankel is deep. "Man's Search for Meaning" (among other books) came out of his experiences in Hitler's camps. There, of course, nothing was your own — not your body, your family, your life, nothing. Yet . . . your attitude forever remained yours. Frankel, a psychiatrist, is often called the fourth school of psychotherapy. It is a slim volume; worth a read.

The neighbors and the common property they hacked at, disfiguring, destroying, and more have needs and reasons I can't fathom. They belong far from the madding crowd — their behavior and words prove no interest in community. Just selves, dog (barking, fouling), and private agenda. I have called the management (of this condo association) several time to address issues because to speak w them is to engage their denial, lies, blame, vituperation. All distractions that I choose to shun. I woke up this morning, again immediately staring at the destruction. Why? To torture myself. How long will it take me to get over it? My question for today.