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Arial Views


As we took off for family vacation the other day, I got a window seat (this is rare when traveling with children). We left Santa Barbara (which is at least one gazillion times better than LAX) and upon take off, we flew out over the Pacific Ocean. As I watched the recognized features blur as they became my distant view, I thought about how often I fail to remember that every issue, problem, thought, heart ache has an alternate view - one that I can’t see from where I am standing or living or complaining or judging.


As I watched the beautiful coastline meander up the coast, I was amazed at just how beautiful where I live is. The sharp contrast of the blue water against the tan shoreline. It isn’t that I didn’t know I live in a rockin place, just that I hadn’t seen it from this vantage point in a long time.


And just like that, the plane altered course and we were launched out over the terra and the snakelike coastline was transformed into squares of varying shades of brown and green. The soft lines now concretized into hard, defined shapes. The patchwork like fields easily identifiable from this distance. What was long and narrow became squared and edgy.


As we climbed to 20,000 feet, my view altered yet again and while I could no longer make out the distinctive coastline or quilted interior, I was given a more amorphous view of mountain foothills whose edges appeared more like an oil spill than topography.


I was only 20 minutes into my flight and I couldn’t help but to connect what I was seeing change before my eyes to what happens all the time, every day.


The landscape of my interior life is mutable and, sometimes, mercurial. I pass from the easy going shoreline, to the hard driving edgy interior to a more amorphous emotional state in 30 seconds. These simple changing states quickly supplanting each other and taking over my life all the time.


I decided for this vacation I am going to try to see my life from this arial view more often. Watch my interior changing landscape from a bit of a distance and enjoy the view. My becoming attached to one mood or emotion over another is simply ludicrous...would I have insisted the pilot alter his course in order to preserve my vantage over the soft coastline? No. So why do I so frequently insist that my emotional interior be managed this way?


Remembering that it won’t be long before we ascent into clouds and the world below is obscured from view. And while I can’t see which ground we are currently covering, I can remember that each one of the geographies below will be seen again in due time. Just as my emotional states will too. I can set my best intention but in the end, no matter how I try, I will succumb again to the ones I desire the least and struggle to maintain the ones I prefer. But now, instead of resisting or hanging onto them, I am going to let them pass, trusting they will reappear in good time.



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