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Underbelly: 10 Things - Vision

Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly
#128 in a series of wild and precious ways to look at our lives

1. TWIL
This week I contemplated vision. I was startled into this realization as I noticed a young grow staring intently at me from one of our maple trees this weekend.
Many years ago, we “saved” a baby crow which was “stranded” on the ground.
I later learned that this was normal crow behavoiur and we had apparently ripped a young crow from under their parent’s wings to be cared for by a well meaning animal lover many kilometers away.
I then learned that crows will remember what you did for several generations. I still get uneasy around the crows in our yard.
This story stays with me for another reason. It is a perfect example of a very well meaning action that caused considerable harm (albeit “just” to crows)
A foundational story for me is the one of the 6 blind people and the elephant. Each person is in front of one part of the elephant and from their vantage point “sees” a very different animal. The person in front of the trunk believes the elephant is like a snake, the person near the ear a large fan, etc…
No one can see the whole animal clearly. In my case, the whole “animal” was the crow’s parenting style, which I was completely ignorant of and still somehow felt not only able to help, I felt compelled.
2. Quotes
“The parable
The earliest versions of the parable of blind men and elephant is found in Buddhist, Hindu and Jain texts, as they discuss the limits of perception and the importance of complete context. The parable has several Indian variations, but broadly goes as follows:[7][2]
A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: "We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. The first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said, “This being is like a thick snake”. For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said the elephant, “is a wall”. Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.
In some versions, the blind men then discover their disagreements, suspect the others to be not telling the truth and come to blows. The stories also differ primarily in how the elephant’s body parts are described, how violent the conflict becomes and how (or if) the conflict among the men and their perspectives is resolved. In some versions, they stop talking, start listening and collaborate to “see” the full elephant. In another, a sighted man enters the parable and describes the entire elephant from various perspectives, the blind men then learn that they were all partially correct and partially wrong. While one’s subjective experience is true, it may not be the totality of truth.[4][7]
The parable has been used to illustrate a range of truths and fallacies; broadly, the parable implies that one’s subjective experience can be true, but that such experience is inherently limited by its failure to account for other truths or a totality of truth. At various times the parable has provided insight into the relativism, opaqueness or inexpressible nature of truth, the behavior of experts in fields of contradicting theories, the need for deeper understanding, and respect for different perspectives on the same object of observation.“ — Wikipedia :)
3. Prompt
There is a powerful tool from narrative therapy called reframing. It’s pretty self explanatory — and also so helpful.
It is *not* simply “positive thinking”
Here is a simple list of prompts to reconsider your narrative and perhaps begin to reframe it:
  • What does it mean to be grateful?
  • What gives me hope?
  • What would I like to see in my life?
  • What do I want to release that I am holding onto right now?
  • What would I like to renew in my life and how would I like to renew it?
  • What are some memories or events in my past that I felt really good about?
  • When was a time in my life where I felt really powerful and strong?
These are taken from a post at Piedmont Medical Services and are meant for cancer wellness. I believe they are great for general wellness :)
4. Quest
Have you ever tried to walk through your week with new eyes? It can be fun to either attempt to be a tourist for a day in your own life :) or simple, post journaling, try to take one new reflection about how you might reframe your story and live as if it were true.
5. Level up
I think the meta-inception level truth in reframing comes with the realization that we can change our story to use our super powers for good — or not.
I can’t imagine a world where we all woke up, understood that we could in fact reframe our story…and then did not choose to do reach out to someone else.
Which gives me so much hope.
6. Podcast — I was so blown away by the level of emotional maturity, love, and respect during this conversation.
Iain McGilchrist & Sharon Dirckx • Brain science, consciousness & God: Is there a master behind our mind?
7. Video
Reframing Grief: from Destruction to Resiliency | Arielle Sokoll-Ward | TEDxColoradoSprings
Reframing Grief: from Destruction to Resiliency | Arielle Sokoll-Ward | TEDxColoradoSprings
8. Poem — One of my all time favorites
Still I Rise by Maya Angelou - Poems | Academy of American Poets
9. Hero
10. Connect
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Wendy Kelly
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Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly @wendykkelly

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