Saturday, July 31, 2010

Peaceful reflections

One of the many gifts I'm finding in my classwork is that both classmates and teachers are encouraging me to question my assumptions.  Assumptions seem to me to be a bit like blind spots: we operate out of them, make decisions based upon them, and yet often have no clue that they exist.

I suspect that's one of the distinct values -- and challenges, of course -- of living in a community, and living in a family.  Yes, it can be challenging to cope when someone points out some aspect of your behavior or personality that you hadn't already recognized for yourself.  But the wisdom of friends and family-- if they're willing to speak up, and you're willing to listen -- can be extraordinarily helpful.

... which means we, too, can offer that gift to others; can challenge them on their assumptions and behaviors in a way that invites them to new growth.  That can take courage, and a willingness to listen to your own intuition. And our insights can only be effectively shared in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect -- which is one of the reasons I'm in this program in the first place: I want to know what it takes to build that kind of openness, trust and respect into workplaces and communities.

So what does this image (completely unaltered), which rose up for me today out of all those great fog shots I took yesterday, have to say about this?  The first and most obvious thing I notice is how brightly that white boat glows against the darkness of the surrounding scenery.  It feels to me like an invitation to adventure; to step out into truth and light, to release the ties to that darkness and embark on a new and hopeful journey.  Perhaps our assumptions are those ties?

The next thing I notice is the reflections, and how clear they are -- or can be, when the water is completely still.  I think we need to create those moments of stillness in our lives in order to reflect upon our surroundings, our choices, and our potential opportunities.  It's also true that there are some things on the outer edges of our experience -- like the tops of those trees -- which our limited perspective only allows us to see when we DO take time to reflect.  In this image the whole upper portion feels dark and looming; it is only the reflection (and the voice of experience) that tells us there is sky and light beyond where we can currently see.

But what I see also is that the boat is not the only option; that I could walk back up the dock, and I would still have several choices -- to go left, right or straight -- and each choice has its own opportunities for discovery.  Just because the boat is there, doesn't mean I'm supposed to untie it and paddle off into the unknown.  And of course, the fact is that this boat isn't mine, and if I WERE to take it I'd be stealing!  So, in a way, though I'd been assuming I was supposed to leap into the boat, I am exactly where I need to be in the moment I'm taking this picture, seeing what I need to see, doing what I was born to do, and that's just as it should be.  It's okay to stay in the moment and not rush into choosing a path or assume I'm supposed to be doing something other than exactly what I'm doing now.

Perhaps the image is simply that: an invitation to be at peace with who and where you are right now.  Don't assume you need to be anyone other than who you are, or anyplace other than where you are, or doing anything other than what you're doing right now: it's all good.


Joyce Wycoff said...

Diane, I feel a great peace from this post and the beautiful image.

Maureen said...

As part of his futures work, my husband always does an exercise that allows participants to uncover their assumptions. I've watched him use different exercises with business groups, a nonprofit arts group, and a church. It's fascinating to see how assumptions get made and how they can be inhibiting or expanding.

When I first saw the image, the white of the boat was definitely "in the picture" of my eye but my eye was going along the pathway and toward that tiny dot of light way in the back, I think because I enjoy speculating on where I can go, what I can do, what might come open when I get there. I saw the reflections but also thought, we can't see beyond them, what's under them, though the stillness of the water suggests calmness, nothing upsetting. I also felt welled up with the quiet in the image, the settling it invokes, but wonder, too, where is everyone?

Your post today is wonderful!

Louise Gallagher said...

This is a wonderful post! What's interesting for me is, I read this one after today's -- and found that the path from today to this one is really beautiful and clear and compellling.

Your thinking awoken my thinking to thinking about 'what can I do?' right now, in this moment, in my own life, that will open me up more to th epossibilities of living right now and here -- fearless and honestly.

Great posts!

Thanks Diane.