Thursday, March 17, 2011

Having New Eyes

There's a story told of a philosopher who stood at the gate of an ancient city greeting travelers as they entered.  One of them questioned him: "What kind of people live in your city?"  The philosopher met the question with a question:  "What kind of people lived in the city where you are from?"  "Oh, they were very bad people", answered the traveler, "cruel, deceitful, and devil-worshipping."  "That's the kind of people who live in this city", declared the philosopher.  Another traveler came by and asked the same question, to which the philosopher replied:  "What kind of people lived in the city where you came from?"  "Oh, they were very good people, "answered the second traveler, "kind, and truthful, and God-loving."  The philosopher replied, "That's the kind of people who live in this city."

To continue on with the subject of Perception, it is "in a nutshell, our beliefs based on our experience.  The way we perceive our present-day world is based on how our world has been perceived in the past, and the meanings we put on those experiences are based on that perception."-Ranae Johnson 

I am not saying that because we have had negative experiences  in our lives that we have to be stuck in seeing life through those same eyes.  I am saying that we have choices in how we want to perceive the world and our surroundings because aren't we here to learn and grow?    

Through the first 10 or so years of our marriage, we moved quite a bit with my husband's job to mostly smaller towns, and I classify myself as a "city" girl.  I was a "complainer" and my husband would say to me, "It's not "where" you live but "how" you live that matters."  And I'd say , "sure, sure" (alot of sarcasm in those words), but in truth, his statement was absolutely correct.  We lived in a VERY small town, Castledale, Utah, for four and a half years (longer than we had intended, but how often do things go as planned?*S*).  We made some great friends and lived in a great tiny neighborhood where my kids had friends and had room to play.  When we finally got a job (to another small place but larger than Castledale) and were moving, I realized how sad I was to leave my friends.  Isn't it the truth, (or my perception, at least!) that alot of times we don't appreciate what we have until we lose it?   

"Instruction in perception will help you realize that there is always another way to look at any situation. "----Ranae Johnson

So when I relate the story above about the philosopher telling the travelers that the city is just as they perceive it to be, that has been a real experience in my life.  I have been lucky; however, to find great friends and continue to live my life in a way that I've wanted to live and somehow still see positive in those experiences.  I wish I could claim that I was positive and saw things in a better light all of the time, but I have not.  (I still struggle with living in a smaller place that does not have all the opportunites that one can find in living in a bigger city), but I am working on it.  This is still my journey and hopefully in reading and writing about this subject, my eyes will be open a little more to an awareness of a new desire to see everything around me in a more positive light.  

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
                                                                               -----Marcel Proust

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