We see what we believe, not the other way around.
– Seth Godin*
In the (nearly a) year I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve challenged myself to look at things differently. Whether it has been editing my possessions, taking photographs or sharing stories, I want to open my eyes to things as they really are, not as I’ve chosen to label them.
It’s harder than you might think.
In order to get through a normal day of interactions with other humans, you naturally need to make quick judgements and apply filters to what you see. It would be overwhelming to simply navigate a car down a street if you didn’t. But those same filters create artificial boundaries on life. They blind you to opportunity, to changing circumstances, to serendipity, even to truth.
I have a belief about what a shopping mall is like. It’s not a happy belief and therefore I avoid malls whenever possible. But today, while completing a necessary errand, I chose to take off my blinders and notice the truth of things. My judging mind jumped in with all sorts of limiting beliefs, but I gently pushed them aside.
I have lots of opinions on overpriced kitchenware, but today I chose to simply admire the colors and textures and smells of Williams-Sonoma.
I cringed at the dozens of TVs all set on different stations blaring at the Time Warner store, but the technician I met with was very helpful, relieving my mind and giving my budget a break too.
I admired the many shades of yellow and orange found in clothes and signs and accessories.
I even stopped to notice the feeling of the mist and fog on my face as I walked across the parking lot.
This is hardly a story of enlightenment happening in suburbia. But it is my reminder to myself that seeing is serious. The limits in my life are generally ones I’ve created for myself because I simply refuse to look beyond them. The world is being created moment to moment, and I have a choice as to how I participate in it or ignore it.
Believing is seeing.
*Many people have probably said this, but most recently I read it in The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, so I’ll give him the credit.