Archive for vision

Nature’s Look at New Year’s Resolutions

Have you ever thought about the fact that the water we drink today is the same water the dinosaurs drank millions upon millions of years ago? With the help of a pretty niffy concept called the water cycle the same water that falls in our Brazilian rainforests,  that fuels hydroelectric power, that sits in our gutters, and swirls in our toilets is the same water that has nourished every living being since the beginning of time. The same water that sustains us today has moved continents,and carved the landscape, was the life source of ancient civilizations, and formed the first glaciers.  There are currently more than 7 billion people living on our planet, making the demand for water larger than it has ever been. Yet, despite the countless lives that depend on our water supply, not a single drop has needed to be added  to meet the timeless demand. From the beginning, the same water that first formed the oceans has always had the potential to quench the thirst of billions for years to come. Its an incredible feat when you consider nothing needed to be added in order for the water that began our world to be enough even now.

I wonder how our new year’s resolutions would change if we considered that we might be like water, made in a way that nothing needs to be added to be enough. Just like water, we were created with timeless potential and have the capacity to feed our environment simply by being who we were created to be. Too often new year’s resolutions are a time to assess our greatest perceived inadequacies and resolve to change. How would your approach to this year’s resolutions differ if you made them with the assumption that you already have everything you need to achieve them—whether it be the right relationships, the creativity, the will power, the courage, the wisdom, or the sheer ingenuity to create whatever possibility is necessary to become all you were intended to be?

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”- Wilma Rudolph

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I want to live like a fearless mama octopus

Let me tell you the story of an extraordinary mother. Yes she is an octopus. But her life is both profound and inspiring. O’ Mama’s life is short but produces life long after her death. She is known for her intelligence. Her heart defines her. In fact, she has three. But perhaps her greatest gift is her sacrificial pursuit of her purpose even in the face of failure.

O’ Mama has a unique reproduction process. After her brief encounter with her lover boy, she finds a lair and lays her eggs. Hundreds of thousands of eggs will carry on her legacy. For a month, her soul is poured into nurturing and protecting her eggs, blowing water over them to give them oxygen and guarding them against predators. She hunts nothing, starving herself so that she  never has to leave her young’s sides. Finally, their birthday arrives. Too weak to move, she uses her last ounces of energy to push them from their cases so they can swim off into the world. And then…she dies.You can watch this beautiful sacrificial birthday here from a dive right in Seattle: A mothers ultimate sacrifice from Koos du Preez on Vimeo.

It would be wonderful if these hundreds of thousands of baby octopuses went off and lived happy lives. But the truth is, of 200,000 eggs, just 3 or 5 will actually live long enough to repeat the process. The rest will be eaten up by predators. Well that was a BIG FAILURE. So much for happy endings, huh?

While the ending might not be the happiest for the yummy little babies, the reality is they are feeding generations of critical species. They are the lifelines for eels, turtles, sharks, dolphins, cods and well…me (marinaded please :)). What may seem like a failed mission by O’ Mama actually changes and strengthens her environment long after she is gone.

There have been so many times where I have done everything in my power NOT to be Mama O’, trying not to invest my soul into seemingly failing missions. Why try out for that singing group when I know I am not going to get in? Why apply for that job when I am not qualified? Why look to lead when there is someone much more equipped? But O’ Mama teaches a much more fruitful perspective—that even our failed attempts produce fruit in our lives and the lives of others. Our fleeting ideas, our dead ends, our dreams deferred are not wasted but live lives well beyond what we might be able to fathom. History gives us many human examples of O’ Mama’s faith:

  • Vincent Van Gogh sold ONE PAINTING in his lifetime just a few weeks before his death. This did not stop him from finishing more than 800 paintings.
  • 27 publishers turned down Dr. Seus’ first book.
  • R.H. Macy failed seven times before business started picking up in a little store in New York.

Are you like O’ Mama, pouring your soul  into your ideas, protecting and nurturing them until their birth, irregardless of the  outcome? Or are you killing them off yourself before their birth? What are you doing now simply because it is safe? How could you be feeding your environment with your simple but profound relentless pursuit of your God given fruit?

Now.. Lets go make some babies!

“The birthday of your possibilities is today.” -The one and only Sean D. Goode


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Vision, Blindness, and New Years Resolutions

“It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.”
— Helen Keller

Since I was a child, I have always been told that I have 20/20 vision. Recently, however, I have found myself confronted with a vision problem. I can see which bus is coming up the street from blocks away. Give me a needle and I’ll string it faster than you can say…ehhh…sewing machine. But my challenge is not in seeing the things in front of me. My challenge is seeing beyond them, seeing what is possible, seeing passed the “buts,” “what ifs,” and “can’t” to who I am called to be.

I came across some photographers recently that changed my perspective on what it means to truly “see.”

What do each of these photographs have in common? I’ll give you a second to ponder and over analyze.

 

Give up? They were each taken by a blind photographer. There is an incredibly intriguing and obvious paradox in the phrase “blind photographer.” (Check out Sight Unseen, an exhibition of blind photographers at http://www.cmp.ucr.edu/exhibitions/sightunseen/ for more photographers and the stories behind them.) How can these beautiful pictures of the world come from someone who cannot see it?

Here is how the photographers explain their art:

“…above all I visualized. Isn’t it true that the realities of the inner life seem like marvels only because we live so   far    away from them? ” ~~Photographer Jacques Lusseyran

“…all photographers, in the end, imagine and remember their images much more than they actually perceive them… In other words, [like a blind photographer], all photographers, in the end, see things with their eyes closed.”~~Photographer Benjamin Mayer-Foulkes

“My images are fragile; I’ve never seen them, but I know they exist, and some of them have touched me deeply.”~~Photographer Evgen Bavcar

The secret behind the beauty of these images from the blind lies in how you define “see.” While these photographers’ sight might be impaired, their vision is probably stronger than most. Sight is the ability to see things as they are, the literal objects in front of you. Vision, on the other hand, is the ability to see things as they could be—-the perception of possibility. Sight is the ability to see teeth and snap a photo of someone smiling. Vision is the ability to capture a smile you can’t physically see because you can envision and inspire happiness. Sight is the ability to see a flower and freeze it in a frame. Vision is the ability to sense the possibility of beauty and take a chance at capturing it despite the fact that your eyesight only allows you to see darkness and vague shapes. “Blindness” is not a handicap for these photographers because their particular blindness only impacts their sight, not their vision.

In the words of blind photographer Evgen Bavcar, “Blindness isn’t just the blind person’s problem-it’s also the sighted person’s, if not more so.” Blindness impacting your sight causes modifications in your day to day tasks. Blindness impacting your vision, however, significantly handicaps your ability to live the life you were called to live. It blocks you from seeing your strengths, ideas, and opportunities to make a contribution with the clarity necessary to make your purpose come to pass.

As we faithfully write up our New Years resolutions for 2011, lets consider whether we are  making lists based on what we can see or what we can’t see. Are your resolutions based on your ability to see step by step how that goal will come to pass or are you dreaming big, taking risk, and basing your future on your ability to perceive possibilities? Is money holding you back from jumping out that plane or taking the trip you have always wanted? Are you just too busy to write that book? Not enough education for that new job? Is the past just too painful to rekindle that important relationship? Failed too many times on that diet to make it worth putting on the resolution list again? Do you see the barriers and blockages to the life you want or are you seeing the bounty in living it? It is only through our vision that we can see passed what is in front of us to hold on to what lies ahead, at any costs. In what areas of your life is your sight blinding your vision?



“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’”- George Bernard Shaw

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”- Shel Silverstein


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