Many of us have seen this image before. What do YOU see? An old woman with a large nose looking down or a young woman looking away? It is the same picture-it is only our perception that is different.
Last day of 2013. How do you see the year that was? What is your perception of 2013?
Seems like everyone is taking some time to remember and reflect. I’m no exception. I love top 10 lists. I love reviews of the year’s best books, movies, news stories, etc. I love flipping through my journals, my photo libraries, and Facebook pages to remember images and ideas I thought important enough to capture. It is satisfying to contemplate goals achieved, tasks accomplished, memories made.
It’s not just fun. It is foundational. It is generational. We use everything that we experience, learn, notice, share and understand as a foundation moving forward. So how we contemplate these memories will shape the trajectory of the next year. If we end the year with regret, how do you think we will begin the new year? Do attitudes just magically transform at the stroke of midnight?
Are we anxious to get this year behind us? Do we hope next year will be better?
As I look back on this past year I will take some time to appreciate how each experience has shaped who I am and has brought me to this moment in time. I cannot change any events, but I can make every event an opportunity to learn and grow-even events long past. So I will take some time today to reflect on what lessons were offered up to me with each book I read, each classroom I visited, each teacher I worked with, each friend I spent time with, each experience I shared with my children and husband.
This reflection, this perception, will catapult me into a new year wide open with opportunities to learn and grow. I cannot predict what will happen. I cannot control what will happen. I can only choose how I will approach what happens. Don’t get me wrong, I am not resolving to become Pollyanna, but I will encourage myself to look at life with more than one lens-to let perception shape my reality.
So rather than generating a list of resolutions this year I think I will focus on one idea…
It’s not new, it’s not exciting, it’s not easy but it is probably the most powerful gift I could give myself if I want to live a richer, more meaningful life.
We find disappointment when expectations seem to fall short.
We perseverate on the few things we failed to accomplish and give little recognition to the multitude of tasks we do accomplish.
We allow the urgent to replace the important.
We see the glass as half full (or empty) rather than completely full only because of what we perceive is in the glass.
We are not patient or compassionate with ourselves.
But what if…
We think about multiple success criteria for expectations.
We recognize the little things we do as worthy and things undone as future opportunities.
We define what is important AS urgent.
We fill our glass with what WE choose so that it isn’t filled by others.
We treat ourselves like a nurturing parent filled with unconditional love and patience would treat us.
It’s not just positive thinking-it’s OUT OF THE BOX thinking that can reframe situations and events into meaningful experiences. When we face challenges we need to approach things not only with an open mind, but a new mindset. As Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
I’ll revisit this concept more often in the coming year. Some resources that have helped me on this journey so far are:
What’s on My Book Radar?
I am thoroughly enjoying my Book a Day Challenge. I have been posting my reads on twitter. So many wonderful books! You can follow me at https://twitter.com/LitCoachLady
I always love Malcolm Gladwell’s unique spin on universal experiences. Whenever I need to challenge perception, I can count on his insights to stretch my thinking. Got this one for my husband at Christmas- I might jump in line ahead of him to read this!