I’m in heaven when I’m meandering through the confusing and mysterious streets, alleyways, and canals in Venice. I can’t imagine ever tiring of the discoveries every one of my journeys there yields – especially when I change my perspective. The world transforms.
Early on in life, when I was a mere teenager beginning to plumb the depths of creative possibilities, my dear artist mother began teaching me about the power of perspective. With me, and with her other students I always marveled out how she could coax, so adeptly, a person from a rigid way of seeing things to a different perspective. Suddenly the world would take on new life. And, well before a camera became my regular companion, Momma Liz taught me how to use my hands to create a makeshift viewfinder. I’m fortunate this was part of my early training, because it has stayed with me ever since.
I’ve chosen the photo above because, for me it demonstrates a completely different vantage point – one that came about by moving from my usual perspective and being willing to reposition myself. Often times this means getting out of my comfort zone – literally and figuratively.
For much of my life, I’ve been a staunch advocate of viewing life from different perspectives. But, that was in my artistic life. In these last few years of totally changing my life by moving to Italy, the lesson has grown broader. One overarching lessons stands out:
Perspective is simply perspective, and not reality.
If I were to go back in time and say this to a younger self, the more youthful Jed would protest, and probably get angry. That’s because I was so convinced that my view of the world and how things were “supposed” to be was right, and aligned with some kind of universal truth. Talk about pride. Gulp.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is perspective, not the truth.”
– Marcus Aurelis
Bravo Marcus Aurelis for summing it up so nicely. I’m waking up, more and more, to seeing how much of my own angst and anxieties are the result of an insistence on my perspective as being the right one. When I get angry or frustrated, and I’m present enough not to be swept completely away by these dark feelings, I step back and remind myself that I’m simply experiencing life from a unique vantage point – one completely colored by a mountain of conditioning and opinions. I ask myself, why do I feel the need to be right?
I only can benefit from trying to see and appreciate the world through other people’s eyes. I believe that, when I do, I become less rigid and more porous. That may sound like an odd choice of words, but I use it very purposefully. “Porous” means being more open. And, when I’m more open, I’m allowing more things to flow into my life.
In closing, I don’t profess to be incredibly enlightened or evolved in this regard. In fact, I feel like a baby learning to take my first steps. I’m learning about balance. Thankfully, I can turn to what I’ve learned about perspective through art – and let that take root in the rest of my life. I will endeavor to remind myself:
When peace takes flight…when you are upset, change your perspective. Then see what happens…
To see this any other examples of my photography and paintings, be sure to visit my online gallery.
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