Painting has taught me a lot about perspective.
Now, I’m much more of a writer than a painter. But I have a dear friend who’s a serious painter – truly amazing. And this last year I’ve gotten to spend some time hanging out with her and some other awesome women, painting (and laughing, and listening to music, and eating good food. It’s spectacular.)
My painter friend, Georgeanne, has taught me many valuable lessons. Above all other things I’ve learned from her, I value this play of perspectives the most. She paints on an easel, so that she can continually move from close in to far away. Because a change in perspective lets you see things you would be otherwise blind to. She also takes her time deciding on the orientation of any given painting – sometimes right side up becomes upside down in an instant. Because changing the way you look at things changes the things you’re looking at.
I spent some time, in this group of women last spring, painting my story. Not a detailed factual representation, but metaphor, feeling, color. When I returned this fall, I saw it there, just as I had left it – all the pain and all the beauty that filled my growing-up years. And then, I climbed the stairs to the loft above, and looked again…and I saw, miraculously, all the pieces of story I had painted coming together to form the shape of a bird, taking flight from the water. It was as if the simple change in perspective had given my story wings.
A change in perspective can change everything. Over the past year or two, I’ve been watching my perspective on my own history shift dramatically – I’ve moved from seeing myself as a victim, to seeing the beauty that my wounding allowed me to stretch into, to counting myself lucky for all of it – each and every moment. It’s radical. It’s shocking, at times. It’s changed the way I think about everything; influenced all my decisions. It’s been so huge in my life that I almost can’t express it…and I generally like to think I’m good at expressing things.
So I’m hinting at it, here. And putting together some tools for perspective shifting: Georgeanne’s paintings, linked above. This article, giving a glimpse of Earth’s true size. And this story, which someone shared in response to the following “status update” I made on Facebook last week:
If reincarnation is real, and time is an illusion, who’s to say that my soul isn’t running around in multiple bodies right now? In fact, who’s to say that everyone I know isn’t just me, reincarnated as someone else? Who’s to say that we aren’t all just one soul, reincarnating over and over and over, playing all the parts…that I was you in a past life, or will be you in a future one? Perhaps a slightly different take on “we are all one”…but I’m having fun thinking about it.
Speaking of Facebook, if you usually find my blog via a Facebook post, you might want to consider scrolling down and subscribing. I find that sometimes when I post a blog to Facebook it is widely seen, and sometimes it isn’t; subscribers get notified by email of every new post. Totally up to you. 🙂
If anything about this dance of perspectives intrigues you or moves you, I’d love for you to comment below…I’m still in the midst of figuring out what the shifting winds of perspective all means, and am hoping to have many more conversations about it.