Sunday, March 29, 2009


Have you ever tried to explain something that you don't quite understand yourself? I try not to, it makes me feel stupid. Then I think of how many times I try to explain my feelings, which may or may not be tainted by hormones, when I can't exactly tell you why I feel that way in the first place. Yeah, stupid.

I guess that's why psychiatrists and psychotherapists were invented. Too many of us can't figure out why we feel a certain way, or how to change it, so people make their life out of figuring it out for us. If you know a good one, perhaps you can send them my way.

There is one feeling that doesn't need explanation, at least in my life. That is happiness. When I am happy, there is every reason in the world that I see for me to be happy. But do those reasons all go away when I'm having a hard day? No, in fact, in hind sight, none of those things that make your life truly happy are usually changed when you have a bad day. It is almost as if you've gone from looking at the big picture, say, an orange, to looking at the tiny bug that was on it - through a microscope.

I try to teach my children that no matter what happens around them, they choose the way they will react. I do this because they like to bug each other, and, when they do, they get the reaction that they want, so they do it again. Someday the lesson may sink in and they will realize that they don't have to get mad when their sister pokes them, and that will take the fun out of it all, and the poking will stop. But not today.

Have I learned that lesson? Perhaps when it comes to people who bug me, but what about taking every situation and looking at it in a positive way. Stepping away from the microscope and seeing all the goodness that remains, in spite of the badness that is overwhelming. Once I can do that, see things in that way, I know that my problems with explaining myself will be over. I can choose to be happy reguardless of what is going on around me.

Maybe someday, but not today.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Observing our point of view

Have you ever seen a picture of something taken obnoxiously close?  Without knowing it's an extreme close up, people come up with some crazy ideas of what it just may be a picture of.  Sometimes our own sight can be just as myopic or narrow.  This came into focus quite clearly as I began to look at writing my book.  As I shared my ideas with some friends, they came to this  understanding which was not at all what was intended in my story.  Their questions and observations as well as their own experience opened up a window that I had never seen before.

I had been a myopic writer, observing things from the view that was presently portrayed on my page.  That is how most of us live our lives, for we cannot even begin to imagine all that the general populace is thinking, feeling, and experiencing, because we have plenty of our own stimulus to sort through.  But for a writer who desires to express his or her world as it exists in their mind, it is terrible.

You need to think about possible thoughts and reasons of every character.  What happened to this man before he grumpily stomped out the door?  Is it relevant to the main story?  How does this action affect each character in the room differently?  With all these questions, you pull yourself out of your main character and begin to understand the greater scope and entirety of all that is happing in that very instant to everyone in your book.

What if we could apply this greater thinking to real life as well?    Sometimes when we are reading a book things happen that merely foreshadow future events or give you a piece to a greater puzzle.  I find when I am reading such, I don't jump to instant conclusions of what the person was doing and why, but pull away, instead conjecturing different possibilities.

What if we looked at a real-life incident in a similar way?  After all, none of us knows the "whole" story, even if we were there to witness it.  Instead of reacting to people's actions, getting offended or appalled, we could observe the action and similarly pull away, choosing how we respond on our own terms, not based on someone's actions of the moment.

I find this especially true of those we are closest to, whom we love very much.  In the end, if we keep in mind the bigger picture that we cannot see, that which is inside of them, we can learn not to simply react to something, but take it as a foreshadowing of events to come.  We can stay open and approachable, and someday, we will see the why's a little more clear and hopefully find we acted in a way that helped, not hindered the situation.