Saturday, January 19, 2013


Any photographer or representational artist knows the importance of visual perspective on a composition.  A small shift can emphasize (or de-emphasize) appealing aspects of the subject matter and background.

I am not a Photographer or Artist.  I am a Mama who likes to take lots of random snapshots of my kids and our lives.  My concern with perspective is the emotional, psychological, world-view perspective that we have on our lives.  A perspective that affects attitude and well-being.

There are times when it is hard to find the beauty and the gratitude and the joy and the yes! in our days.  There are times when head colds and coughing keep us awake too much and drag us out.  There are times when the state of the dishes seems overwhelming, much less the state of our unfinished house or our wide-spread community, or the state of the world.

Here's where perspective comes in.  Is happiness a choice?  Can we choose to have a more joyful outlook?  Could it be that simple?  I'd say, yes AND no.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” 
― Dalai Lama XIV

Every moment we can make choices that bring us closer to or further from a positive perspective.  I'm not talking about wishful thinking, but acceptance and choice.  Sometimes when I go out in the snow, or the mud, or the wind, to feed the chickens and carry in some firewood, it feels like a hardship.  Sometimes it feels useful, like a breath of fresh air and movement.  Sometimes, when I'm wearing a hand-knit hooded scarf and I have just-laid eggs in my pockets, and I'm pulling a sled full of firewood up to the door, I feel like a character from a fairytale.  The only difference is in my point of view.

Sometimes my husband and I argue, or disagree in a feisty tone, or throw out unkind words out of frustration. The thing is, after being together for 18 years, we are quick to laugh at ourselves, quick to move on, quick to say, "I love you,"  quick to say, "You'd damn well better," with a giant grin.  From the perspective of a love so big, disagreements are of little consequence.

When I look at my children, and what they are learning, I see so much that can't be measured by a test.  I see value in numbers and music and television and make-believe and relaxation and stacking wood and books and friendships and computer games and quinoa salad and cupcakes and disagreements and healing and yes, even sickness.  From an unschooling perspective, there is educational value in a very broad range of objects and activities.

So, while we recover from coughing and congestion, we are relaxing and discovering new shows on Netflix, Walking with Dinosaurs (me and Sylvia), Once Upon a Time (me and Camille), The Little Prince (Camille and Sylvia), Horseland (all three girls), Spaced (me).  We're listening to whatever albums the girls 'discover' from my record collection, Woody Guthrie, John Hartford, Grateful Dead, Bob Marley, etc. We're playing with prime numbers.  We're eating healthy (mostly).  We're getting a little fresh air, and feeling grateful for bodies that can return to a state of health.

 The girls went out to play after three days of being in and I found them loading up the wheel barrow and stacking wood by the back door.  "This is fun!"

OK, then.  Carry on.
 Ayla proudly gathered these two eggs from under a hen named Rainbow.

If (in my better moments) I can choose a perspective of gratitude and respect for my children, my husband, my friendships, my community, and my world, everything looks brighter, my choices of action are kinder, and the learning, the beauty, and the yes! are easily apparent.


  1. Exactly! It's all your choice of perspective. Peace, love and light.

  2. "I see so much that can't be measured by a test. I see value in numbers and music and television and make-believe and relaxation and stacking wood and......"

    It just feels better to see everything they *are* learning instead of focusing on what they are not.

    We are Dead and Marley fans here too. Always lots and lots of music. :)

  3. Somehow I missed this one - and I needed it and so it came :-) Perspective is a grand thing! Thanks for reminding me.


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