What do you see?

I have often wondered if other people think about things like I do. I wonder if they see the things I see.

I’m not talking about the way our brains ‘see’ an image coming through our eyes, but rather how we use our brains to notice and interpret what we are seeing.
It’s occurring to me that there are multiple factors at work here.
The image is one thing, our awareness (how present and attentive we are) is another, as is the knowledge that we bring. Knowledge can be used to interpret and understand but it also allows us to take another look to observe something we may have missed the first time.

Oh, and I wonder if I’m weird? 🙂



Most days I walk past a tree.
It’s a tallish tree with a straight trunk, growing skywards.
This tree is growing about 30cms from a building, so close that it has negotiated the buildings eaves. Without touching the eave this tree has grown so that its’ trunk goes out and up to continue its journey, upwards. As straight as it can given its circumstances.
It’s a marvel I have often admired. How has it done this? I know that auxin in the leaf tips cause the plant to grow towards the sun, maybe this has played a part. Is it that the soft leaves and young branches have sensed the buildings resolute structure?
I don’t know, I could have googled and explored to seek understanding, but I’m perfectly happy to just admire the way nature interacts with our human interjections.

One of the massive benefits of going to Uni was to be able to do an Arts degree 🙂 What a wonderful course of study for people who wish to follow their interests. During one of my lectures my lecturer talked about Viktor Frankl and his book “Mans search for meaning” (which has been kindly posted online as a free PDF http://goo.gl/uxo2cI ). One of his points was that we ascribe meaning to things. What means one thing to one person may mean something else to another.
What a wonderful understanding. It allows me to understand how many people respond differently to each other. They aren’t wrong, they just see it differently. It’s the judgement that may follow it that leads to conflicts. How cool to be able precede our views with ‘in my opinion’ or ‘the way I see it’. To me (😊) this is not about diplomacy, it’s about acknowledging that others might have a different, and for them a perfectly valid, way of seeing things.

What’s this got to do with my tree?

Well, I see it as another opportunity to reflect.
I look at the way the tree has grown and developed. I firstly wonder in amazement and delight,. I marvel at how this plant has adapted to it’s situation and I wonder how people do the same.

Obstacles-what obstacles are placed before me?

Often ‘we’ are faced with obstacles and impediments, things that we have to negotiate our way around. Some of these things we are conscious of, others, not so much.
Do we feel a sense of loss or imposition? I wonder if our potential to be ‘perfect’ has been crippled, or is it part of our journey of uniqueness, developing our character?
I don’t see the tree as being crippled or scarred. I see a unique tree that has continued on its way in spite of barriers being placed before it.
I relate this to children and adults I interact with, all who are faced with things that can build character, or stifle their potential. For some I believe that the environment in which they grow will provide them with difficult obstacles that an keep them from prospering as much as they could have.
I wonder if I’m like the tree, shaping myself to accommodate the world I live in, or am I continuing to be who I think I want to be. Is the building (those immovable blocks and obstacles) hindering me or helping me?

Obstacles- Do I create obstacles for others?

Am I the building to other people? Do I cause obstacles to others? Do I harm and hinder or do I help?
I’m not sure it’s all one or the other. Maybe it’s situation by situation (case by case), maybe it’s accumulative too.
What’s that saying about the tough times being like sand paper, smoothing our rough edges? Too much sanding will create a different shape, unrecognisable from the original.

Do I review my planning?

I wondered too about the origin of the tree, how did it come to be growing there? Was it planned and planted, or did it spring from a seed?
How do I ensure my planning isn’t flawed and going to create problems in the future?
Do I monitor the progress of my plans to be open and aware of how they impact on others?
Do I notice things, like the tree, where early intervention might create a different outcome?

So where does all this wondering leave me?
While I might not be able to control many things that happen in my life, I can, to the best of my ability, control my response to them. To inform my responses, I believe I need to be aware; aware of what I, others (and the situation) are doing. I try to be open to others ways of doing things. That’s not about joining in, but understanding that many factors have come together for the other person to choose this way of behaving.

Reflections; they’re worth thinking about…..


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