Live What You Know

Learn, Grow, Accept, Appreciate, Realize, Love…Truly Live It All! Make Every Day A Masterpiece and Live Each Moment In Joy! —or— You are Divine. You are All. We are One. Let us Be still. Let us Listen with an open heart. Let us Live what we hear. Let us Love with All of our heart. BE. YOU. I AM. —or— wherever you're at and growing from now.

Tag: open mind

Becoming The Ocean

If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.  –Leonard Cohen

This quote is such a great realization.  I came across it in my reading this week and it put all I was feeling into clear, loving and true perspective.  To live on the surface of life, where we allow our inner state to depend on our outer circumstances is rocky, stormy and sickening.  It does feel like navigating during fluctuating storms that just keep rolling in.  It is possible to live from down deep in calm waters and to be fluid as we flow through life with the understanding that the moment is all we have and things are happening just as they should.  How do we do it?  We use every experience we encounter to build more presence in us, to ground us in our true essence of love and connectedness to all things…which can only be found in the present moment.

As we grow our presence and ability to live from the quiet place inside us, we still have to navigate the circumstances and people around us.  As we get better at this, the opportunities to practice it seem to mount.  We all have loved ones we hold dear and often those very relationships are the ones that allow us to grow the most.  I spend a lot of time with my two precious little ones.  They bring so much joy, laughter and moments of love, but, they also bring many many opportunities to practice all of the things I have learned about presence and consciousness.  If I didn’t have the day-to-day challenges with the kids, I would probably have myself convinced that I have evolved to a much higher level of consciousness.  I have little encounters with them all the time that remind me of what I can work on and just where I am at.  It is a gift to have these two to work with as I try to stay in the deep waters for longer periods of time and teach them to do the same.

Here’s the thing, the kids are constantly trying to pull me into feeling whatever they are feeling and as they grow and encounter new challenges and responsibilities, their emotions are all over the place.  Sometimes it feels like living with little emotional bandits, taking me on a ride over getting their jacket, tackling a math problem, clearing the table or tying their shoes, etc.  They are little, vulnerable and highly identified with me.  If they are stressed or upset about something, they want me in the same state.  I think they feel that if I am feeling the same stress, they will feel better or get help; its like they feel that if I’m upset too, they won’t be alone in it.  I can feel the pull between the three of us of how they want company in their emotions.  I am always trying to live from a place of non-reaction by putting more space around my choices.  It is kind of funny to hang out with people who really really want to get a reaction out of you when you so badly want to stop reacting to everything that comes your way.  There is a kind of perfection in it that allows me to feel just how connected I am to everything and how God/Life lines up the perfect circumstances to grow you to be more of your essential self.

You can be sure that whatever circumstances you are working with, they are the exact, perfect ones made just for you that will deliver you to all that you are meant to experience on the path leading in the direction of becoming more of who you really are.  Whenever I hit a bump or fall flat on my face by forgetting everything I know, I can feel the meaning in the experience and be grateful for whatever the details looked like.  Me and my little emotional bandits get up and forgive each other pretty quickly and jump back into the joy of life.  We talk openly about all these things, so they are learning right alongside me.  They teach me so much in such a pure way.

Let’s have a moment of get-real perspective here; perception is always a great teacher, it is usually a good idea to flip things around and see how they look from the other side.  As I was thinking about the “emotional bandits” part of things, I realized that I am an emotional bandit as well.  I have heard myself say, “Why can’t we just be in the moment?”, “Let’s get into the flow of life.”, “Joy is waiting for you whenever you’re ready.”, and many more such statements.  It would seem that I, too, am guilty of resisting the emotions others are experiencing and trying to get them to feel something I want to feel.  Even if I am trying to get them to feel “good” things, it is still me trying to get those around me to feel and act the way I want them to, so that it can come more easily to me as well.  To be honest, I have seen myself in bad times trying to get others to feel bad with me too.  It is a hard thing to admit, but as I look at things from this perspective, I cringe at some of the times I was down, stressed or overwhelmed and my husband was happily buzzing around and I dragged him through my emotions just to have some company.  Fear makes us do all kinds of weird things.  Thank goodness we have always come out of it pretty quickly and we know where it all comes from.  The yuckie stuff is always fear and the lovely stuff is love…no exception.

So, we all do it…we all try to bring our loved ones with us on our little emotional trips.  As we ride the waves in a storm, it is lonely to do it alone…we seek company and we drag them into our boat because we are afraid of making the trip alone.  Once we can learn to live from a more spacious place that allows others to have their feelings and express what they’re going through without it affecting our state of mind, we can be free of the seasickness and truly taste the freedom of acceptance, present moment living and inner peace.  Next time you notice an emotional bandit trying to take you for a ride, just give them love and let it pass through you.  Try comforting them by intense listening that allows them to be heard without resistance from you that would cause them to try to convince you and pull you into their emotional boat.  If you notice yourself trying to take others for your emotional ride, turn towards love and remember that everything passes, things are always as they should be and even though it feels like it would be lonely to go it alone…it isn’t.  Sometimes we just need to feel our feelings deeply and pass through them alone to let them lose their power over us.  We can grow and become more of who we really are by swimming deeper, feeling more stillness and realizing that we aren’t ever truly alone…we are connected to all that is around us…what we can see and what we cannot.

Picture it, if you are living at the surface of life, riding the waves, you need that little boat and you constantly seek company in there to endure all the seasickness and storms.  If you are the ocean, you don’t need the boat.  You don’t need to get in the boat with others and you don’t need to drag others into yours.  You can just be the ocean and heal yourself and others as you spread love and stay calm and peaceful in the moment.

Sending you love, calm, peace, joy and presence.

Happy New Day…The One That Happens Each and Every Day!

So, it’s January 1, 2014.  It feels like a new beginning, a fresh start…full of possibility.  The newness of the first day of the year is a wonderful gift, but it only comes once a year.  The truth is that we have the opportunity to start each and every single day fresh and full of possibility.  We get to decide each day who we will be, what we will do with our day and what we will bring to the world.  We get to choose what we will see, how much love we will spread, how much joy we will live and how much peace we will feel.

We’re all doing our best, working towards becoming more of ourselves and showing up more authentically in the world; whether we know it or not, that is what we’re doing.  Some days it works well and some days we struggle and cause suffering for ourselves and others around us.  Each day and each moment, we have the opportunity and the ability to choose to start fresh and choose love.

“The human emotional system can be broken down into roughly two elements:
fear and love.
Love is of the soul.
Fear is of the personality.”

~ Gary Zukav – from “Seat Of The Soul” ~

This year as I continue to work on closing the gap between what I know and what I am living, and then expanding to a new gap as I learn more (I’m figuring out that life is lived in the gap and there will always be one), I do have one main goal in mind.  I hope to live from a place of love that leaves no room for fear.  I will use this space to share how that will look in my life.  I want to live with an open heart in each moment, allowing me to assume nothing, take nothing personally and listen to Life deeply as it continues to guide me to more of myself.  I want to choose more of the soul and less of the personality.  I want to spread love wherever I can.  I want to use all that I know and embrace the unknown as I continue to build habits that will support my growth, always turning away from fear and towards love as I push through to the essential me.  I will fail, I will try again, I will start fresh a lot.  I will share openly with us all here.

I am grateful for this space.  Every time I hit publish on one of these posts, it feels like a fresh conscious moment to choose who I am.  As part of my love, not fear, open heart, lived moment by moment year, I am opening the site up for comments.  I am ready now.  I welcome the idea of connecting with my readers more.  I feel ready to hear how others are living what they know and I hope to build a nice space for us all to learn and grow.  Thank you everyone for sharing this space with me.

Wishing us all the courage and presence to awaken every single day to the possibility that we are.  Sending you love and joy!

Help Others…Help Yourself

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no person can sincerely help another without helping himself.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There is a mystical law of nature that says the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.  Your true happiness comes from giving, not getting.  It’s the basic precept of all great religions: the Golden Rule.”  — John Wooden

We are so connected to each other.  When you help someone, you expand and feel more of yourself through that connection.  You sense more of your true self, the one that is timeless and connected to everyone and everything…your soul.  Helping others takes the focus off our own stuff and allows us to break down a false sense of separation from everything.  It is easy to go around feeling separate from the world, but that isn’t real.  We are part of it all and with it all.  We connect deeply to all the little things around us…those we can see and those we cannot see.  The more we can feel those connections, the more we can see them.

The ego seeks to divide and separate.  Spirit seeks to unify and heal. –A Course In Miracles

We want to help others from spirit, not ego.  The ego loves to see others “in need” and itself as the “helper”…what we’re talking about here isn’t that kind of help.  We’re talking about the kind of help that unifies, not the kind that separates.

There are big ways to help others.  We can seek them out and give our time, talents, energies and resources to them when we are able.  It is important to build in time for giving back and we get so much in return.  But, there are also lots of little ways we can help others on a regular basis:

  • Listening — People love your full attention.  Simply giving it to them can help in so many ways.  Your fullest attention to show the other that they are important to you in that moment can heal them and nurture them in many ways.  This is for our closest loved ones and anyone we come into contact with throughout our days.  Wherever you’re at…that is the perfect place to truly listen to everyone and everything around you.  It is a gift for others as well as yourself.
  • Eye Contact — This may sound silly, but it is important.  There is something magical behind the eyes.  We don’t want to be creepy about it and stare too long, but we must honor each other by really looking each other in the eye. There are so many distractions these days that it is easy to keep a wall up.  Having that wall up is deadening…it feeds the feeling of separation and creates suffering.  Looking into the eyes of others is like a window to the soul.
  • Smiling — A true smile feels so good for your heart.  Do it right now.  Stop reading this and smile your truest deepest smile.  Your heart tingles and the connection of it is obvious.  Now, imagine spreading that tingle and true form of loving energy wherever you go.  You can.  Years ago I was walking into a Costco with the kids and two older gentlemen were heading towards us.  I smiled and greeted them as we passed each other.  As they went on I heard one say to the other, “Wow, there is nothing like a woman’s smile.”  I was rather surprised at the time.  Now I understand it a bit more and I know what smiles are…true smiles (not the fake ones) from anyone are soul nurturing.  Spread the smiles — nurture souls!
  • Sharing Your Spirit — I have a few close loved ones that allow me to share my spirit.  I also share it here on Live What You Know.  My deepest and truest intention and desire when sharing my spirit is always to help others become more of themselves and make great choices as they know more and live more.  I can feel how uplifting it is for my spirit when I have touched the stillness and allowed the expression of my spirit to flow through me.  I feel so much better when I have quieted the personality and all it’s noise and truly touched the spirit.  Those close loved ones I mentioned that allow me to listen to their deepest feelings and concerns about their life situations are such a gift.  In listening to them, understanding their journey and responding from a deeper place, I get the gift of spirit flowing through me.  If I have truly done it and they can hear it, it is such a miraculous gift.  To have spirits share in this way is what connection is all about.
  • Being With — Things change and evolve, lifetimes go through a natural expansion and contraction.  Everyone is in a different stage of life and viewing life through their own perceptions.  Knowing this and accepting the impermanence of all things, we can give more focus to truly being with each other wherever we are at.  If we can stop expecting our loved ones to behave in certain ways, we can be with them exactly where they are at.  We can be the place of love that allows them to feel loved and accepted as they are.  If we can stop expecting things in general, then life can open up and bless us in miraculous ways.

Personal note — I am so grateful for this space to share my spirit.  As I wrote this, I had some realizations of my own and I can see ways I can focus my actions towards these points even more.  I am grateful that my spirit always has messages for me too!  It’s always possible to live what you know a little bit better.  Now is always the time because it is the only time that ever is.

Wishing you blessed opportunities to help others and feel the lift in spirit as it helps you in return.  Sending you love and joy!

A Clear Mind

My new morning mantra…

Today, I go out into the world with a clear mind.  I leave all thoughts behind.

I spotted a great quote recently that inspired it…

When I walk out into the world, I take no thoughts with me.  That’s not easy, but you can learn to do it.  An empty mind is hungry, so you can look at everything longer, and closer.  Don’t hum!  When you listen with empty ears, you hear more.  And this is the core of the secret:  Attention is the beginning of devotion.”  –Mary Oliver

Last Monday morning, I was driving the children to an activity and I paraphrased Mary Oliver’s lovely words above sharing where I had seen them.  I then naturally turned them into my new mantra.  I kept saying, “Today, I go out into the world with a clear mind.  I leave all thoughts behind.”  Next thing I knew I was looking at things fresh and clear and miracles were appearing before my eyes.  Simply from looking at them with a clear mind.  The miracles are always there and God and the Divine are always ready for us to show up and see them, experience them, and BE them.

On that Monday morning before I had used my mantra, I did have things on my mind that seemed to need my attention.  I even had a few things I thought needed fixing or my own interference really.  After using my mantra and then truly entering the day’s activities with fresh eyes, open ears, and a clear mind with pointed attention…nothing needed my “fixing” anymore.  I was simply left grateful and alive.

This weekend someone asked me, “Where do you fellowship?”  I said, “Everywhere.  I love looking for the Sacred in Everything.”  This is my devotion.

Mary Oliver was right…It isn’t easy to take no thoughts with you.  She was also right when she said you can learn to do it.  It begins with watching the thoughts and then finding your way to quieting them.  The joy is in the still, open, attention.

This morning and always, I wish you a clear and open mind to experience the miracles that are ready for you.  You don’t have to take expectations with you anywhere you go or into anything you do.  Sending you love and joy!

From Status Quo To Status No

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.  –Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have a little saying I love to say to myself and to my friends…or anyone who will listen really.  I say, “Don’t should on anyone and don’t let anyone should on you.”  If someone is discussing another’s choice and wants me to agree with their point-of-view or comment in some way, I like to say, “I don’t like to should on anyone and I don’t enjoy others should-ing on me.”

Sometimes it feels like there is an awful lot of “should-ing” in the air.  It all makes judging others and comparing ourselves so easy.  The technical term for what it brings is what we call “yuckie energy” around our house.  Truly, if you are judging yourself or others or just commenting on what someone should be doing or running dialogue in your mind that tells you that you “should” be doing something, it feels yuckie and it spreads.

Over four years ago, we made the choice to switch to a vegan diet and remove all animal products from our plates.  It was scary and strange and brought about all kinds of expected and unexpected results.  As I look at my life since making this choice, I notice that it was the first time I really chose to go against the status quo and make a big life change that would make some people uncomfortable.  My reasons for a vegan diet are many.  It started with a choice to read a book called The China Study.  From that one choice, many followed.  I kept researching and trying to figure out what made sense to me and what I wanted for my family, etc.  I read and read and read and the reasons mounted.  We jumped and went completely vegan overnight.  I am so grateful!

Obviously this had a major impact on us in the nutrition department and our health and how we live, etc.  What I can now see is that this choice to figure things out for myself and make the best choice for me and my family without worrying or being influenced by what those around me will think (okay, I did worry some at the beginning) changed our lives in many more unexpected areas as well.  This change allowed us to embrace that practice in many more areas of life.  I think this first jump into trying something so completely different from the way we used to live opened us up to life more and made it possible to make other important choices for our lives.  We began making huge steps toward charting our own course.

Clearly, we’re not the first vegans and we are super fortunate to make this choice at a time when it is so easy and becoming much less out of the norm.  Even in the years since we started, it has changed a lot (or maybe we did).  We think its normal now.  Ah, normal.

We have gone on to making many more choices that don’t fit the status quo.  We chose to homeschool/unschool our children a few years ago and that one made vegan seem simple.  Except, now that seems normal too.  In the beginning, it seemed like explaining these choices when someone asked was important and worth the time.  I would be sure to give the most eloquent, educated sounding explanation I could muster.  Now, it’s just normal to me.  I really don’t need to go into these choices much, except to say that we’re happy and it works for us.  If people are sincerely interested or curious I love discussing all the details of both issues, but I don’t feel the need to make them interested or try to convince them of my point-of-view.  It feels nice now.  It feels like being comfortable in your own skin.

I love researching things, implementing new lifestyle choices, trying new things, basking in the unfamiliar…I love taking bits and pieces from all I see around me and creating my own world with my own design…some borrowed, some new, some tweaked.  In the beginning of my newfound willingness to make big choices with big change, it felt like people thought I was judging their choice by sharing my own.  I don’t really notice that feeling anymore.  I may have felt it because I was judging on some level…it is nice to see that slip away.  I remember just not wanting people to judge me.  At this point, I don’t really notice any wasted energy going into worrying about what others think.  I’m just being me.  It feels great…not always a walk in the park of course, but it feels like home.

I love my choices and I love everyone else’s choices too.  I love sharing why I made mine if people are interested, but I no longer think mine are better.  I do like to encourage people to find their own way…but I won’t tell them they “should” do that.  I just like to share that it feels free and wonderful!  When I was a little girl, I was afraid of everything!  Truly!  Even butterflies!  That seems so long ago.  I am grateful for learning to listen to all the messages that come our way to take us from fear to love and open us up to becoming more of ourselves.  Now, the thought of following along and doing things because I “should” is the only thing that sounds really frightening to me and butterflies aren’t scary anymore…they are a magical message about change!

Important note – I am super grateful to those people who feel strongly about sharing the reasons for their choices and helping others make the same ones.  We all hear messages in different ways and those using their voices to bring change are an important part of how we all learn and grow.  I am grateful to those that follow the message to speak loudly about certain things!!!  Someday I may speak loudly about my choices, but for now, it seems my soul is telling me to quiet down and BE a bit more.  Still happy to share, just in a quiet and open to life way.  Actually, quiet is much more challenging for me…so it must be what I am meant to work on at this point in life.

Sending you love and wishing you the courage to chart your own path and listen to your soul…not in a “should-ing” way…just a loving way.

The Wisdom, Kindness and Courage To Celebrate The Joy and Success of Others

When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter.
As you see him you will see yourself.
As you treat him you will treat yourself.
As you think of him you will think of yourself.
Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself
or lose yourself.
–A Course In Miracles

As I learn and grow I marvel at just how connected we are to each other.  It really is amazing and awe-inspiring to try to grasp just what truly connects us and to what extent we are connected.

This week I have been feeling so very grateful for that fact and at the same time a bit sad from the longing it creates in my soul.  As you realize this truth and try to go about your business in this world it can sometimes feel difficult to function in environments that just don’t seem to understand what we’re looking at when we see each other and what is happening when we judge or compete with each other.  It can feel so brutal to see the many ways we create the illusion of separation.

I no longer feel sadness for me when I know someone doesn’t want to hear good news or share in my joy, I feel sad for them and I long to reach them and show them the beauty of celebrating each other.  I want to help people connect to the world around them and everything in it in a more meaningful way.  I think this desire came naturally from wanting to connect to it more myself.  You figure out that you cannot walk that path alone…we must go together.  How we choose to see, think of, feel about and treat each other is how we choose to live and how we choose to be with ourselves.

I know the answer is always love and I must give to the world that which I feel it is lacking.  I want to celebrate everyone and truly care about their joy and well-being.  I know deeply that I share in any success or joy anyone may experience.  I will choose to see the good that is in all of us and to be the space for others that allows them to feel it and see it in themselves too.  I will choose not to recognize what judging or competing looks like, I will simply be the space that welcomes joy and love and comforts others.  I will see the connection we have even when others can’t see it…maybe my seeing it will help them see it too.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
–Henry David Thoreau

Having this space to connect with followers, visitors and fellow bloggers comforts me so much and helps with the longing of my soul to feel the connection we all share.  For that, I thank each and every one of you so very much!  I am truly grateful!

Wishing us all the wisdom, kindness and courage to celebrate the joy and success of others today and always!  I pray I may live what I know today!  Sending you love!

The Gift of Authenticity

Years ago I had what seemed at the time like a close friend.  We were spending a lot of time together in group settings and with our children and alone on occasion.  The thing was, you never knew what you were going to get with her.  Sometimes she was lovely and great company, sometimes she was rowdy and a lot of fun, sometimes she was down right rude and hard to get along with, sometimes she seemed to have a wall up to create distance and make herself appear to be something (I’m still not sure what it was).  One day when we were together, she was having a bad day and really let her guard down and spoke from her heart.  I got to see this open and genuine side to her.  It was a bit of a relief and very refreshing.  I can’t remember exactly how I worded it, but I told her on the spot how much I liked her when she was just really being honest and open and sharing how she was really feeling that day.  She quickly responded, saying “Well, it’s not practical for me to come with my ‘woe is me’ story every day.”  She quickly returned to her somewhat closed up protective persona.

I let this friendship slip away.  That wouldn’t happen today.  That friendship taught me a lot throughout the years.  I now know that you can only see in others what you have in yourself.  Even as I recalled my experience of her above, it didn’t seem real anymore.  I think I would now experience her in a completely different way.  I was choosing to experience her in that limited way.  I was not as far along on my own path of finding my authentic self.  Perhaps when we aren’t there authentically, we can’t feel others authenticity either and we don’t offer a space that welcomes it.

I used to think I was too open.  I would sometimes regret having shared too much with someone and have that sick feeling of regret.  I would then try to tell myself I wouldn’t share so much next time and that I would learn from that feeling…only to have it happen again soon.  I haven’t had that in a long time.  I didn’t become less open, I just found my way to more authenticity.  For that, I am truly grateful!  Recently someone meaning well and trying to give me helpful advice relating to my children’s activities told me to “keep my distance” with a particular group.  She had compelling reasons and was really trying to help me navigate a situation for my children.  Her advice seemed reasonable and she had much more experience in this arena than me…for a minute I thought I might be able to do what she was suggesting.  It didn’t work.  I figured out very quickly that I am just not a “keep your distance” kind of person.  If I am there, I am open.  For me to try to create distance would stop the flow of life and I want to experience that flow and whatever it may bring.  When you are completely authentic and present (or at least as present as you are able to be), the interaction will be what it is meant to be and the fear of over-sharing can drop away.

Authenticity comes slowly over time (like most wondrous gifts).  Without knowing it, I have been working at it for years.  As a child, I was so afraid of everything.  Even butterflies.  I made many choices out of fear of what others might think or to do what I thought I was supposed to do.  It is remarkable how little what I really wanted or felt meant to me.  I think it is sad to spend time walking around with masks on trying to protect ourselves from something…but really, just keeping ourselves from living.  I want everyone to know how amazing it feels to truly stand in your own authenticity.  It is such a relief to ourselves and to others who spend time with us.  It allows us to make brave choices that align with our purpose and to truly grab hold of this life and live it.

It is a beautiful thing to be so “you” everywhere you go.  Sometimes I am shocked at how different it feels these days to be authentically me.  Sometimes the things that bring me the most joy surprise me so.  Many things have changed slowly over time and I have found the authentic me to be much more than I thought as I have learned to chart my own course and make authentic choices for my life.  Whatever it is, whatever I am feeling, I am it…no pretense, no people pleasing, no mask…just me.  Sometimes I have it together and spread love and joy.  Sometimes I am a mess and it shows.  Whatever it is, it is authentic.  When it is a mess, it doesn’t last long…authenticity has a way of bringing us back to the only thing that truly exists…love.  It sort of wipes all the fake stuff out-of-the-way and brings more space for love.

We know in our hearts how important authenticity is.  We must work to find it and know it so well we live from that space in every choice, action, thought or word.  Once we can live in this way, we can work to expand it and watch it grow us into our true nature.  The Universe is authentic, it will meet us in that space and we will see our connectedness to everything and how we see the world will be transformed.

Sending you love and wishing you authenticity in everything you do and a reciprocal flow from everyone you meet!

Perception – Lessons For Children of All Ages

Perception is a wonderful lesson for children of all ages.  It is so helpful to teach them to step back and consider different points of view.  We want to raise kind compassionate children and teaching them the skill of looking from various perspectives is a great way to start.  My daughter and I first began talking more deeply (past simple sharing) about perception in preschool when she was dealing with what seemed to her like a mean little girl.  We discussed the other possible options or reasons why it may seem like she is being “mean” and tried embrace other scenarios, etc.  We tried to put ourselves in her shoes and see things from her eyes.  It helped.  In the end, they became friends.  These conversations continued throughout the years.  It also helped me teach her to try not to take things personally and to always look for the good in others because it is always there.

Perception can open up so many things in life and you can take the lessons as far as you are willing to open up your mind.  You can start with simply seeing things from another view-point and take it all the way to the ultimate illusions in life that we all experience.  Ultimately, perception can lead you to constant peace.  For children, just introducing and discussing the concept can free them from a lot of heartache that would stem from judging others and insisting they are right, etc.  Some of these concepts may go over their head at first, but not for long.  I figure it’s like songs written in consciousness, at first they just seem like catchy tunes and then as you change over time you hear the profound wisdom within and it’s like being hit over the head (I remember singing Imagine along with the radio one day and finally hearing the words I had memorized long before, I had to pull my car over I was so awestruck and thrilled to finally understand what was being said).  I figure someday they will have a moment where it clicks and they will say, “Wow, that is what my parents were talking about.”  Sometimes they surprise me and say something so profound I am sure they remember where they came from.  I often wish I was as present as my son, so I am sure we are learning from each other.

My daughter and I have continued these conversations about perception over the years to help her embrace her compassion and willingness to see things from various points of view.  We are a homeschooling family so we can spend a lot of time on subjects that interest us, it’s just one of the many perks.  We have a lovely assignment we would like to share.  This year we saw Wicked at the theatre and knew immediately we could make a great perception assignment out of it.  My daughter already knew Wizard of Oz very well, she had seen the movie several times and played Oz in her children’s theatre production.  Once we saw Wicked, it opened up an entirely different viewpoint of the story.  We loved it and we spent a lot of time on her related essay about perception.  Her essay is below.  She was seven years old when she wrote it.  We spent a lot of time having editing meetings and getting to this final draft.  Another home school perk we enjoy is learning through editing and editing until we get to her personal best version.  From a seven-year old point of view, it is just precious.  It is a great lesson for us all.

Please enjoy the essay below on perception from my kind and compassionate daughter.  I had to include this adorable title sheet she created.

Perception

Perception

            People see situations in different ways.  Perception means how you see things.  This paper is all about how you look at things.  The Wizard of Oz and Wicked are great examples of ways we can perceive things differently.  My fright of the Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz was equally matched by my love for her in Wicked.

The Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz was so scary.  The Munchkins were terrified of her. They were so scared that every time the Wicked Witch came they would hide from her.  She always had this funny and terrifying laugh.  Whenever she saw Dorothy she would say, “I’ll get you my pretty,” and then laugh afterwards.  The Wicked Witch wanted to kill Dorothy and her friends Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man.  She really wanted the ruby slippers badly and she would do anything to get them.  She was completely terrifying and I felt so relieved when Dorothy melted her!

In Wicked, the Wicked Witch of the West was loveable!  Her name was really Elphaba.  She was born green and everyone was mean to her.  She was smart.  She took good care of her crippled sister Nessa.  She wanted to help the animals.  She tried to do good things but they did not go well for her.  She was totally tricked by the Wizard of Oz and everyone thought she was bad even though she was good.  She just wanted those ruby slippers to remember her sister.

In the Wizard of Oz I was so scared of the Wicked Witch of the West but in Wicked I loved her.  In the Wizard of Oz the story was told from Dorothy’s perception, it made you see things how she did.  In Wicked, the story was told from Elphaba’s perception, throughout the whole show you see her side of the story.  The way these stories were told from the perception of different characters made it possible to equally fear the Wicked Witch in one story and love her in the other.

My fright of the Wicked Witch of the west in Wizard of Oz was equally matched by my love for her in Wicked.  In both shows there was a different way of looking at things.  This is what perception is all about.  In all things in life people have a different perceptions of things.  This explains why people make different choices.  Understanding people’s perceptions can lead us to kindness and compassion.  I want to always remember that people have different perceptions because kindness and compassion are the most important thing in life!

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