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: perception

Twinkle

Recently, we were enjoying the fresh air in our backyard late in the afternoon. We enjoyed a lovely dinner and then settled into comfy spots to enjoy the nature around us. My husband and I chatted and sat quietly together as the kids ran around watering plants and playing with dirt. We moved our chairs closer to the edge of the yard to see even more.  The light hitting the mountain across from us as the sun began to set was spectacular. The lighting created a new scene every few minutes. The beauty was breathtaking. Right there in our own backyard. The birds were dazzling us and the energy around us was miraculous. It was lovely to let life pause and feel ourselves as part of the scene we were enjoying. It was a beautiful Sunday night. We were at one with nature rather than observing it or missing it altogether. My soul delighted in the peace, natural stillness and beauty.

As the night began to approach, the family headed in to begin the nighttime routine. The kids were especially ready because dessert was first on the agenda. I said I would join them in a few minutes. I wasn’t quite ready to leave my peaceful spot. I felt like offering a prayer of thanks for my time out there.  There was still the tiniest bit of light from the sun, but it was fading fast. I thought I would meditate for a few minutes to hold the peace. I rested my head on my chair to look up at the sky. I noticed a faint little star beginning to become visible. My heart skipped a beat. I looked around and there were a few more of them coming out to shine. The miraculousness of it hit me like a wave of, well, Divine Love. That is the only way I can describe it. Those precious stars were shining the whole time and until our magnificent sun was out of sight we couldn’t see them. Within the next few minutes many more joined the scene. It was so lovely and so much more than I can explain. I joined my family within just a few short minutes, I never like to be far from them. I felt changed and ready to see them twinkle too. Oh, how they shine.

The stars that blessed me that night were twinkling all the time, I just couldn’t see them until the right moment when circumstances allowed and I was ready to give them my attention.  I am made of the same stuff as the stars.  We all are.  Imagine all the things in the world that are shinning and yet still unable to be seen for various reasons.  Couldn’t it be that any time we see one another with anything but love in our eyes, we are missing the twinkle we all share.  Perhaps something is blocking our way.  Some little annoyance, some grave injustice, some petty circumstance, or whatever it may be is blinding us from the reality of what we are really looking at.  We are looking at a shinning star in front of us no matter who or what our eyes fall upon.  We are all connected to each other and everything around us like the constellations in the sky.  We can connect the dots and see that twinkling around us.  We will shine all the brighter when we do.

Whether something is blocking our vision or if we are simply distracted and busy, we can choose to see what is really around us. We decide what we see and how bright we shine. We can wake up or slow down or get present or whatever you want to call it. We can see the love, the miracles, the connection to everything and everyone.  We can shine and feel the light shinning on us.

Let’s twinkle bright enough that we may be seen.  Let’s keep our eyes and hearts wide open so that we can see even the faintest twinkle before us.  Let’s love and be loved.  Sending you joy!

Spiritual Simplicity

To become a happy person have a clean soul, eyes that see romance in the commonplace, a child’s heart, and spiritual simplicity. —Norman Vincent Peale

I came across the above quote in my morning reading recently.  The idea of spiritual simplicity struck me deeply.  I instantly loved that notion; the deepest part of me knew exactly what it meant when I came across it.  That idea stayed with me all day and carried me through my choices of love and non reaction.  Simply put, it helped me stay firmly in the moment and accepting of all that each moment brought with it.  It is a very helpful thing to remember first thing in the morning, so I want to share it here this morning.

Spiritual simplicity means loving all that we encounter.  It means accepting and truly living each experience as it comes.  It means knowing that whatever circumstances we are experiencing, they are the perfect ones for us at the exact moment the Universe has created them for us.  It means listening to Life and flowing with it in the rhythm that our spirits know.  Living in acceptance doesn’t include feeling like we don’t want to or cannot change things.  It empowers us to know the impulse of the Universe and give our attention and energy to changing things that are ready to change.  In some cases, our mere acceptance of things allows them to change before our eyes; like how a hug or loving smile can melt the anger, sadness or frustration of a loved one.  Other times, our acceptance of what is allows us to hear the Universe/God/Life telling us about what it would like to bring to us or through us.  Resisting anything is a force that does not allow listening, it makes hearing Life’s messages impossible.  Spiritual simplicity is love and listening.  It is only found in the sacred moment we are in.  It isn’t found in the thought stream and stress of daily life.  It is in the flow of our spirit.  Our spirits flow together.  We are all connected and we can flow through our days in spiritual simplicity.  Let’s listen and love.

As for the rest of the quote above:

  • A clean soul — we all have that.
  • Eyes that see romance in the commonplace — we can do this by opening our eyes and truly seeing all the amazing miracles that are constantly around us.  I like to think of it as seeing the unfamiliar in all things and never assuming we know how things are going or how they will turn out.  It is staying fresh and alive to each moment.  Love is all around.  We can choose to see it.
  • A child’s heart — we all have that.  We must remember what it feels like to live from it.  Be amazed.  Be present.  Expect wonder and excitement.
  • A very important note — the quote begins with the idea of “becoming” a happy person.  We don’t need to try to do that.  We already are that.  We came into this world with that intact. We simply choose when we are ready to remember it.  “Happy” becomes peace and joy and is accessible in every moment.

Let’s set our intention this morning and feel how well it will serve us.  Today, I choose to live spiritual simplicity and I intend to spread it to as many lives as I can touch and as many places as my energy can visit.

Sending you love and joy!

Fresh Eyes

Whatever we look at today, may we see it with fresh eyes.

All too often, we look with the eyes of yesterday.  We allow our past experiences and judgments to drag us through our life and relive themselves again and again.  This isn’t living.  We can’t fully come to the present moment and live our soul’s purpose and essence until we can put down our veil of perception grown in the past and grounded in fear and future.

We can practice looking at the world and everything in it with fresh, clear, new eyes.  When we do, we will experience the flow of life in miraculous ways.  We can shift how we experience everything.  Everything that passes through our vision has our thoughts attached to it as we take it in.  We look and attach a label, draw on past experiences as we assume they will repeat themselves and then react accordingly.  Living this way, we miss the actual moment and what may be possible within it entirely.  We can change the thoughts we attach and open up to the Life we already have waiting for us to experience it fully.

I arrive again and again at the miraculous truth that the unknown is all there really is and it is much better than knowing everything…or at least thinking we do.  We really don’t know what the future holds and we would have much more peace if we didn’t feel the need to know.  As we shift our perceptions and feel what is really going on in the Divine Universe, we can begin to trust that whatever lies in the unknown is far better than anything we can conjure up with our little ideas about how things should go.  Even when things seem to be against us, we usually see the reason it was the perfect for us later.  We can trust it all.  It is so much more meaningful and, in fact, fun, to just go with the flow and see what happens.  My favorite saying lately is simply, “I don’t know, let’s see what happens.”  It is a joyful relief that comforts me so…much better than gripping life too tight and continuously striving for some semblance of control.  That “control” only blocks Life and all its miracles.

We never really know what we are looking at…even the most familiar things.  Once things become familiar to us we no longer see them.  We must make the effort to see them fresh.  It will awaken our soul and we will come alive to Life simply by seeing what is really there in front of us rather than seeing our thoughts attached to it.

Yesterday at the grocery story, I saw my kids beside me with absolutely fresh eyes.  The magical love I felt gave me chills all over.  They looked like little miracles standing there near me.  I felt like the luckiest person alive just to have them hanging out with me.  I watched them for a few moments, one intently looking through items at the counter and one surveying the people all around…it was as if I had never seen them before.  I saw them so clearly and I knew throughout my being that I have been blessed in the most amazing way.   I could have been distractedly handling that grocery line moment that we have been through what seems like millions of times…instead I was there with fresh eyes and filled with the tingle of Life running through my senses.

I cherish John O’Donohue’s words on the unfamiliar…with gratitude I keep his lessons on seeing the unfamiliar in the most familiar things close to my heart.  I love what A Course In Miracles taught me and continues to teach me about perception.  I try to remember these lessons as I go through my days…sometimes with fresh eyes, often a bit blurry with flashes of clarity.  Recently in my reading, Mark Nepo spoke of these ideas as “love at first sight”… it opened up a new understanding in me.  I like the term “love at first sight” used in this way.  That was what happened to me at the grocery store.  I looked at two of the most familiar people in the world to me and my eyes were so fresh that it was indeed Love At First Sight!  Perhaps that is why they say love is all that matters and love is all there is…because when you get your eyes right…love is all you can see and all you can Be.

These ideas are not reserved for easy situations and circumstances.  We can apply them to Everything.  These fresh new eyes are the ones to use even if we have people in our lives that we feel have wronged us or our loved ones or are in conflict with us in some way, we can look at them with fresh eyes and live only what is in the actual moment in our meetings with them.  We don’t have to bring our past experiences with tough people to every interaction with them and we don’t have to replay old movies in our head of how we already know them and what they are all about.  We are never exactly the same in any two moments, we can meet everyone fresh in the moment we are actually in.  If we can do that, we will surely see that things are always much better in the actual moment without brining all the thoughts about it to keep us distracted or reliving past moments.

Everything around us can feel how we are using our eyes and other senses.  Our eyes can bring love or fear.  When we’re fresh and present, everything expands to be more fully and authentically alive…even the flower can stand taller.  We open life up and we live authentically.  The simple choice to use our senses to see things fresh brings the frequency of love that is all there really is to see.

Wishing you countless moments filled with the true and infinite “Love At First Sight” that is always available to us.  May we all have the courage to look at it all anew.  Let’s see it all fresh!

Sending you love and joy!  May the tingle of Life run through your senses!

Problems vs. Peace

We choose which we will bring to this world — problems or peace.  Which one will we bring with us wherever we go today?

Finding problems is the easiest thing in the world.  There is no shortage of them.  It can always appear as if something has gone wrong, we made a mistake, something is happening that shouldn’t be happening, someone has wronged or offended us, something is annoying us, we can’t be happy until something else happens, etc.  Living in a world of labeling, comparing and judging all things mixed all the while with the struggle to survive without awakened presence makes it feel impossible to see anything but problems…they just roll in…one problem after another.  There is another way to live.  We don’t have to see things as problems, we can turn toward peace instead.  We decide.

As we come to realize that we want more peace in our lives, we have to find ways to practice peace that work for us in our current life situation.  Observing how we see things and how we allow them to come through us is a great practice.  As Life gives us things to work with, big and small, we can choose how we will let them come through us.  Will we find a problem and stay stuck in our head as we resist it, find faults with it, label it, judge it and spend out time trying to convince others to see it as a problem as well?  Or, will we put some space around it and let it be what it is (Life) without the label, content in not knowing whether it is good or bad while trusting that all thing are happening as they are meant to?   It is as simple as that — each little thing…label, think, cause suffering about it or let it be and live in peace.

I have the good fortune of practicing with children.  They are at the beginning stages of labeling all things.  In many ways they must learn countless labels as they grow, figure things out and strive for a great education.  Still, we make an effort in our house to understand the difference and dance between the labels that help us learn and the ones that aren’t necessary.  It is an intense practice with them, because they are so open with their labels and judgements, they don’t hide them secretly in their head and fester, they just blurt them out or have a melt-down and present their problems.  We always have a lot to talk about and practice with.  It is my practice and it works for me…most of the time.  Of course, I don’t have it mastered.  I start the days saying things like, “okay, let’s not look for problems, let’s find peace”… I always tell them that problem-finding is just too easy, we could find a bunch at any time…but what we really want is peace…let’s find that.  Then it takes helping them do that while keeping my peace in tact…a delicate balance.  By the end of the day, it gets a little harder for me to stay with the peace.  The more tired I am, the easier it is to judge things as problems.  It becomes harder to put space around my reactions and choose peace.  This week I began adding some quiet time with a clear-minded meditation for me in the afternoons to gather my energy and keep with my peace in an effort to start fresh even late in the day.  Always something to work on.

Life isn’t trying to annoy us, it’s trying to wake us up.  We choose again and again whether we will create problems or peace.  We create with Everything.  We can feel apart of everything and flow with it or get stuck slugging it out with the smaller stuff and trying to bend things our way.  We can thrive in the ride of not knowing and truly living or we can think we know best and struggle through it all.  We never really know when things are good or bad.  We have all lived through thinking things were one way and finding out we labeled it wrong.  Real Life is lived in the not knowing.

Just this morning after writing the above, I stumbled into this lovely poem that works so well here.  I want to share it with you.

Repeatedly We Are Asked

to embody or consume;
to be in kinship with everything larger
or to order and manage everything smaller.

We are asked, every day, to align or separate;
to coordinate our will with everything living
or to impose our will on everything we meet.

And not choosing is a choice.  Acquiescence
is different from patience or surrender.

All this leaves us needing to know:
whether to better the song through practice
or to better ourselves through singing.

–Mark Nepo

I want to better the song.  Today I pray to answer well when asked again and again if I want problems or peace.  I also pray for those that aren’t yet aware that they too want more peace.  I pray that they may be blessed with a little bit of peace today so that they may learn to search for it and practice it.  I add my gratitude for the practice to the song.  Life is a great practice.  It really is.  Peace and blessing are all around and I am so grateful!

Sending you joy, love and peace today and always.

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.

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!

What Blessings Will You See?

I experienced three specific blessings and countless related miracles last week.

  1. My dryer broke with a room full of dirty clothes.
  2. My air conditioner broke on one of the hottest days of the year with house guests included in the fun.
  3. My leg was bitten by a spider that resulted in a reaction causing great discomfort and need for medication.

When the dryer broke for the third time in the two years since we purchased it, I started to react and then paused, took a breath and simply took the necessary action to figure out how to resolve the issue.  Within the course of the next few days I witnessed several miracles come together to coordinate things perfectly for me.  It felt like a bummer to have to purchase a new one and it was kind of funny when they called to say they were on the way with my new washer (instead of a dryer), but there were no less than ten things that looked like miracles to me throughout dealing with the situation.  My heart was full of gratitude to have witnessed these miracles and to live in a time and place where dryers exist and we are able to have one.

When the air conditioner broke within a few weeks of having it serviced, I reacted a bit.  It was hot and I had guests.  I made it through the heat and tried my best to let it be.  The next morning after realizing it hadn’t fixed itself overnight I called the nice man who had recently been to the house to service it.  It was the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, so you can imagine it wasn’t high on his list of things to do…but, within a few hours he was at my door with his sweet young son ready to help.  They had the right part on their truck and got us up and running very soon.  I counted many miracles in this process and felt a deep sense of gratitude that I had been referred to him a few weeks before and even knew who to call on a holiday weekend like that.  Because I was leaning back and letting things flow, I witnessed multiple miracles.  My heart was overflowing with gratitude.

When I saw the crazy thing on my leg growing and developing a weird ring around it and realized that I had been feeling kind of sickly, I started to react or become fearful and then I realized with a grateful heart that I coincidentally (there are no accidents) had a dermatologist appointment the very next morning that had been scheduled for something else two months earlier.  This was an appointment I had been avoiding for over a year, I was having a dark spot cut off my back.  Ouch.  I finally had made the appointment and was kind of dreading it.  As I realized the doctor would be able to help me with the weird thing growing on my leg, I felt like I had just been given a huge hug from the Universe (I love God hugs…they are always readily available).  During my  appointment she said that I would have ended up in the hospital on an IV if I hadn’t come in.  She prescribed medication that requires me to stay out of the sun for ten days which causes me to miss out on a lot of planned activities.  I had seen so many miracles in this blessing, I left filled with the utmost peace and gratitude for the way the Universe works and the miracles that are all around us.

I am so grateful for three things that happened last week.

  1. My dryer broke with a room full of dirty clothes.
  2. My air conditioner broke on one of the hottest days of the year with house guests included in the fun.
  3. My leg was bitten by a spider that resulted in reaction causing great discomfort and need for medication.

I saw three blessings and many miracles.  I am so grateful I can see them.  What a shame it would have been to simply see three bad things that happened and disrupted my week.  Sometimes the things that look like problems are filled with blessings, kindnesses, miracles and messages for us…you never now whether something is good or bad.  It is best to just go with the flow of Life.  When we figure out how to truly Flow we can see blessings everywhere!  That is living!

It is impossible for me to truly express just how I saw all those miracles or to describe the amazing little details that were connected and coordinated to fill me with wonder…even for someone like me who is never short on words.  Trying to explain the details of it couldn’t honor it properly.  It is just a kind of magical feeling that made ordinary events take on more meaning.  It brought into clear perspective how silly it really is to react to things.  There is so much more going on than we can see…but if we look closely enough or feel deeply enough, we can know and understand at the highest level that everything is going to workout just the way it should and all is well.

Miracles are all around us!  Wishing you a day of counting your blessings…whatever form they come in.

Perception is but a mirror, not a fact. What I look on is my state of mind reflected outward. (p. 441)

This instant is the only time there is. (p. 443)

Perception follows judgment. Having judged, we therefore see what we would look upon. (p. 446)

–A Course In Miracles

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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