I spent a week in Edinburgh a couple of months ago. I’d met up with old friends and made new ones. I experienced four seasons in one day and spent time laughing out loud at the Edinburgh Fringe. I sampled whisky and stood in awe at the foot of enormous trees in the Botanic Gardens. My life is richer for everything I experienced.
I was walking with my friend through the Chinese Hillside within the Botanic Gardens. We stood on the bridge looking into a vast pond filled with water lily leaves. We’d been talking about life and more specifically where of our experience of it comes from. Some of the leaves were vivid green and some were faded and yellowing. I asked him whether there were ever any water lilies or was it just leaves that filled the pond. And then suddenly I saw the lilies….they were yellow and the pond was filled with them, all bursting into bloom. And now when I looked all I could see were the flowers sitting on the leaves, I could no longer not see them!
How was it we wondered that just moments before neither of us could see the flowers. They were clearly there we just couldn’t see them.
This led us into a beautiful conversation about our own blind spots in life. What were the things that we just hadn’t seen and then suddenly, boom! Clarity.
We don’t see something we can’t see until we see it!
Until a year and a half ago I believed that my experience of life came from my circumstances, the things happening around me, outside of me, and people in my life.
I believed that someone really could make me feel a certain way, whether that was angry or happy or any emotion in between.
It really looked like the weather could affect my mood.
I believed myself to be successful if (and only if) I had a full diary of clients.
I thought my happiness came from receiving texts from my children, regularly. It looked like my happiness depended on my children.
I thought I had to be a certain way in order to be loved.
These were some of my blindspots, until they stopped being blindspots.
And, as I suddenly saw the waterlilies on the pond, in the same way and just as quickly, I saw that my wellbeing, my experience of life only ever came from inside me. My experience of life was being created via my thinking moment by moment.
What a relief!
I saw that nobody can actually make me feel anything, even though it really feels like that at times. I’m only ever reacting to my thinking about that person, in the moment.
I saw that the weather can never affect my mood, even though when it’s pouring with rain again, it really does look that way! I just have to remember the times when it’s been really sunny and I’ve felt miserable or when there’s a wild storm and I’ve felt on top of the world.
It’s never the weather. It’s always my thinking.
I slowly began to see that my feelings were simply my internal barometer, informing me of what my thinking was up to.
A low feeling inside was simply telling me that my thinking was probably not to be trusted.
A good feeling inside was telling me that my thinking was worth taking notice of.
When I was a child I used to love watching my dad gently tap the barometer in the hallway to see what was happening to the weather. Was low pressure on its way in or was high pressure on the way? It was a guide to what to expect. Actually, I still get a kick out of watching him do it!
I now know to be careful when my barometer is falling, I know not to make any rash decisions.
I know to carry on with care.
And here’s the really cool thing I’ve learned.
The less I fiddle about with my internal barometer the quicker it rises once more.
It’s an odd question to ask I realise but what are your blind spots?
What aren’t you seeing?
Sometimes it takes us to get quiet to see or hear something new. Sometimes we hear or see it in the hustle and bustle of life.
The key I believe is being open to it.
The original of this post was published by Rebecca Perkins on Medium.