The Power of Perspective
Written by Susan Hoboken
I used to stand at the edge of the ocean watching my grandfather skip stones across its surface. Always in awe as I watched the stone’s interaction with the surface of the water; slowing down after each sequential rise and fall until it was out of sight.
Unbiased to the “imperfect” ones, it was likely that my stone would bounce off the surface only once, if at all, before it would sink to the bottom. I never thought twice about it once it left my fingertips.
With every stone we were inadvertently changing some unbeknownst dynamic. Not many people think too deeply about the physics of a skipping stone, though. Why would they?
But how about what happens when the disenchanted adult loses sight of the idealistic child? When does the wonder and awe flee our story?
It’s hardly imaginable for the logical mind to step out of a moment and observe its layers of impact. We overlook the inescapable wonder of a single moment that in all of its beauty, reverence, exquisiteness, calamity and tragedy is ceaselessly creating and transforming the art of our core, our soul, our being.
It is in the impact of all of these moments that perpetuate the ebb and flow of our own journey, but we aren’t always riding the wave with our head above water. Perhaps, even worse, we are standing on the edge, stuck in a single moment while it seems the rest of the world continues to move in all of its rightful fluidity.
I’m inspired by that power of a single moment; particularly a moment of tragedy: a moment that holds so much more than tragedy. Do we fall at its knees and surrender to it or do we fight like hell to rise about it? And if we choose to fight, what are we fighting?
My dad died when I was 17. I was fighting a part of myself that I wasn’t quite familiar with. A face of grief staring me straight in the eye saying: “Let me in and understand me. Accept me, learn from me, and still love me.” I chose to walk away while somehow keeping a tight debilitating grip.
I understand why we can be so accustomed to breathing the past and holding onto it for dear life because I’ve done so. At some point, we have to stare back it. We have to embrace it with every ounce of compassion in order to give it a different power.
We owe it to ourselves to look at it all from a higher perspective. Where is the light in a moment of tragedy?
It’s been 11 years since my dad died, and for most of these 11 years I was deeply connected to the saying: “Time heals all wounds.” Except, I don’t believe that. Time conceals wounds. I was lying to myself and to others. In fact, it’s been my greatest struggle letting go of the pain of that moment, and no amount of time was going to prevent its reverberation in my present.
I was waiting for a sense of peace that would never come as I let myself grow more and more disconnected from my own feelings. I was carrying a story that I was letting define me, yet I wasn’t familiar with its voice. Time gave me a false sense of peace that I accepted for as long as I could.
We cannot heal ourselves within unless we get to know our own feelings. We cannot keep moving in the hopes that they’ll dissipate in the noise of our busy lives. We must allow space for the intensity of our emotions to breathe; feel them and accept them. Breathe with them. Be silent with them. Accept ourselves for feeling them. We have to connect with our pain so that we can process it. It is the only way we can release it. Too often we let the pain of our past project into our future.
That single moment for me was the overpowering ebb that I had been fighting for far too long. At 17, I had no idea what it was like to grieve a loss so profound, and mostly I was terrified. The only thing in my sight was loss.
To my logical mind, logical perceptions, logical senses, I lost someone who meant more to me than any sum of words can express. Along with that, came an even deeper and heavier sense of loss that overpowered and weighed on everything else.
Ironically, in the moments when I allowed myself to feel what that loss has meant for me, I began to understand, as I’m still understanding: that was my illusion in the reality of circumstance.
We tend to get caught in our own reality of circumstance rather than trusting in the beauty of the lesson it holds. We often find ourselves running from our self-created illusion of what that reality has become for us.
How are we living at our most vibrant capacity if we are trapped in our losses?
We have to close our eyes and escape the logic. Know that it’s not true. Don’t be afraid to grieve, but most importantly, don’t be afraid to let it open your heart to trusting that there is eternal life for those who live in our hearts, and they are undoubtedly always with us.
If you trust in this, it will open your heart to so much more because that idealist still lives in all of us. We just have to find our way to free it.
What I’ve learned is that there is a simple definition for grief, but the feeling runs much deeper in our core than any words can attest. It has a way of making us feel broken at times, but the thing is, we don’t break because there’s a hell of a lot more holding us together. It’s been my greatest lesson.
The truth is, there is beauty in a moment of tragedy and I’m still trying to see it all. In a journey of self-healing, it has certainly transformed me. I’m still discovering how, but the why of it all has become insignificant.
Perhaps because, most importantly, is has graced me with a different perspective.
Here is my perspective: we are never alone. We all have a story to tell. I’m still trying to figure out our collective refusal to let go of a physical existence; our ability to withdraw so wholeheartedly from the present moment. I tend to believe the focus on what we’ve lost inhibits our ability to understand and be grateful for what we’ve gained, what we have, and what will never be lost.
I have learned that there is an indescribable beauty in the healing process of telling our story, loosening our grip on the past, and opening our eyes to the wonder of our fleeting moments. The unforeseen stones that are thrown into our world will undeniably shift a dynamic, but we are the ones who create our own illusions of circumstance given the realities we’re faced with.
We see what we choose to see, so what if we choose to look for something different?