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Come on Out and Play

Kitten Fishbowl
Creative Commons License photo credit: spleeney
Do you ever feel like you’re swimming in circles of muddled-in-a-puddle thinking?

Dare to turn life on its end, and you may find that topsy-turvy is a truer perspective than turvy-topsy.

Robert Brault

It’s amazingly easy to think that my view of the world is the only view – that my fishbowl IS reality, that my “story” is THE story.  But this ego-centric viewpoint – the world revolves around me – leaves us all swimming within our own little circles of concern.  And, confined within puny little universes, we’re deprived of a world of wisdom.  So I’m proposing a fanciful “come out and play” approach to escaping the trap of muddled-in-a-puddle thinking.

Before we start playing, let’s consider why I’m inviting you to play.  Jacueline Bigar, whose horoscopes I find insightful, suggests:

Take an overview. Detach from the story and eye the big picture. No longer play out a role in a dispute or conversation. Become an onlooker. You will understand much more.  [italics mine]

Today, for this post, we play so we can expand our understanding of the possibilities.  We play so we can begin to recognize that:

There’s an alternative.  There’s always a third way, and it’s not a combination of the other two ways.  It’s a different way.

— David Carradine

But sometimes it’s really hard to detach, to “become an onlooker” when we’re embroiled in a dispute, or tangled in a web of complications, or simply numbed by one too many snags.  So how do we get a fresh perspective that allows us to step back and see the bigger picture?  Try this: Leap out of your fishbowl of muddled-in-a-puddle thinking and into this little pond of OP’s (other people’s) viewpoints that I offer here.

fishbowl jump
Creative Commons License photo credit: Kay Kim

Play in This Pond

Splash about in this little pond of perspectives – some off-the-wall quotes from some “muses” you might never meet.  Ask yourself how you could use these rather contrarian interpretations of “reality” to re-assess your view of your concerns:

My play was a complete success.  The audience was a failure.

— Ashleigh Brilliant

Interesting.  Typically, when my ideas have been negatively received, I just assume that I’m the problem.  And that I need to fix me.  And, while there’s wisdom in working on me (me being the only one I can change) maybe it’s not me, maybe it is the “audience” that’s the problem.  Maybe what I have to offer simply needs to be offered to a different target market, a different audience.  It surely opens up new avenues of alternatives, doesn’t it.

Won’t you come into the garden?  I would like my roses to see you.

— Richard Brinsley Sheridan

I don’t know about you, but I find it uncomfortable to be the center of attention.  And I often go out of my way to dodge such encounters.  But if we all do that, we deprive others the enjoyment of shining their light on us.

If you’re being run out of town, get in front of the crowd and make it look like a parade.

— Unknown

Hey, great idea – don’t slink out quietly, MARCH your way into your new future.  Catch the cadence with the Music Man’s 76 Trombones and hold your head high as you bravely parade out into infinity and beyond.

I always thought a yard was three feet then I started mowing the lawn.

— C.E. Cowman

This quote makes me think about all the times I’ve mis-communicated when I thought I’d offered clarity. For instance, if, on Friday I say “Let’s go to the movies next Saturday”, do you think I mean “tomorrow” or “a week from tomorrow”?  Well, I meant “a week from tomorrow” which would be the next Saturday after this Saturday.  If I’d a’ meant this Saturday, I’d a’ said so! Right?

And then there’s PattiAnn’s friend, Teri, who was accidently run over by her neighbor…

The car was parked in the driveway.  Teri saw that her neighbor was in the car, the engine was on and she saw the driver check behind her.  Teri assumed that the driver saw her and that the driver wouldn’t pull out quickly, so she walked behind the car. The driver was in a hurry.  She looked behind her, saw nothing in her path and gunned the engine – she was running late.  POW!!  Teri was on the ground – trying to get out of the way of the car.

Ouch!  Without shared meanings we are doomed to confusion, and sometimes even injury.

I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.

— Matthew Henry

Refreshing!  How easy it is to slip into the poor-me mentality.  Yet recovery looks much more do-able to me when I articulate the blessings that remain rather than the losses sustained. What if, when faced with the possibility of taking on the mantle of victim, we were to follow Matthew Henry’s lead and look for our blessings instead?

Retreat, hell!  We’re just advancing in another direction.

— Oliver Prince Smith

I love this re-definition! I think I am way too quick to interpret setbacks as failure and, in doing so, I am blinded to all the sparkling opportunities that line my new path.  I wonder how my world might change if, instead of seeing a detour, I were to see a new road to success?

How’s the Water?

Well I hope you’ve enjoyed swimming in this pond of six different perspectives from six different individuals.  Sometimes, when I’m in the midst of a confusing situation, if I ask myself, “What would Oliver Prince Smith (pick almost anyone) advise”, I suddenly KNOW just what to do next.  So these authors (including good old “Unknown”) are now numbered among my collection of personal “muses” or guides, my geniuses of off-the-wall inspiration who help me find those elusive “third way” alternatives.

If you don’t already have some, I invite you to dream up your own muses  (perhaps your very own version of repartee-spewing Robin Williams?) to help you find the “third way, the different way” of responding to life.  Will you share yours with us?  We love to hear from you!

Do you ever feel like you’re swimming in circles of muddled-in-a-puddle thinking?

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