I’d heard for many years that unhappiness about a situation is resolved by either changing the situation, or changing your perspective. I intellectually understood this idea, and in some scenarios was able to apply it. For example, about five years ago I was in a (sort of) relationship that was using up a lot of my emotional resources, but wasn’t giving me much back in return. At the time I was trying to train for a marathon and raise money for charity, both of which were impacted by the draining nature of the relationship. So I took stock of the situation, worked out my priorities and ended it. I asked the person in question to stop being in touch and the whole thing stopped, I changed the situation.
Likewise, I’ve had moments of changing my perspective. I never really enjoyed formal education, but somehow I came out the end of 17 years continuous study with a degree. The way I did this was by shifting my perspective from seeing education as a painful slog, to an opportunity I was lucky to have, and a channel through which I made my closest friendships.
The biggest change in perspective I’ve experienced however has been how I view the beauty in the world. In my early twenties I travelled to many places and saw many wonderful things. I knew at the time however, that I wasn’t fully absorbing the wonder of the world. In my head I knew I should be moved on a cellular level by looking at a sunset, or by having some quiet moments on the edge of the ocean, but my head was always elsewhere and I didn’t fully let the moments sink in. But these past few weeks I was lucky enough to re-visit Sydney, a place I’d been to six years ago when life was a lot more heady. This time however, I felt the beauty of this city hit me time and time again. In the first hour of arriving I was sat on the deck of a ferry taking me out through Sydney harbour, opera house on one side and harbour bridge on the other and I was drinking in the beauty, feeling it restore my jet-lagged body like some sort of medicine. I arrived at my friend’s apartment and was physically moved by the view from her balcony. The birds sounded incredible, and I felt abundant watching the ocean lap against the sand metres away from the apartment. It was as if, six years later I was physically open to the wonder of the place.
And this I see, is an epic change in perspective. It’s as if I’m now seeing life through a different lens, a softer lens, a lens that really lets the light in.
The development of this lens didn’t come about all of a sudden, it came from a slow and dedicated commitment to wanting to feel more. It came about through regularly thinking about what I’m grateful for in my life. It came through allowing myself to stop and think about how I genuinely feel about situations, and people and places.
I used to experience the world two dimensionally, safely protected behind a thick and sturdy lens. And now I let the light in and I feel so much better for it.