When I was a wee-one dressed in my Sunday best, I offered my Mom a bouquet of hand-picked pretty yellow flowers. At least, that is what I saw. My Mom saw something different in my chubby outstretched hands. Lucky for me, she focused on the joyful intent of the giver and not on the dandelion juice dripping down and staining the dress she had just spent hours sewing.
Yes, that bouquet I had so lovingly picked was a common weed. The scourge of lawns everywhere. The lowly dandelion. To a child: beauty, magic and fun. To an adult: pesky weed that must be destroyed before it spreads and causes havoc (or if one loses the battle, be turned into dandelion wine to drown one’s sorrows).
The same dandelion, different perspectives. Isn’t it interesting how what we each see can be so different? Not just with dandelions, but with everything we see, hear, touch, smell and taste. Information goes in, is circulated and shaped by our emotions, moods, memories, and beliefs, then our brain spits out thoughts which are so easily misconstrued as fact.
“There are no facts, only interpretations.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
In the spring, when I see an abandoned lot speckled in yellow, I can smile at how cheerful and bright dandelions look after a long winter of grey and white. But when they invade my own lawn, my brains switches and I see a weed that needs to have its offending yellow head snapped off and be doused in weed killer. And when they turn into white balls of fluff? I can see either the beginnings of a gazillion more dandelions ready to invade my manicured lawn, or a child making a wish, blowing, and watching the magic spread.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” — Anaïs Nin
Every moment of every day, I am making choices about what I focus on. What thoughts do I allow to take residence in my head and which ones do I shoo away? Do I see the weeds in my life? Or do I see flowers? Do I use my thoughts to transform, to find beauty and hope? Or am I so caught up in living a manicured life, that I see the threat of weeds everywhere?
“Be careful how you interpret the world: it is like that.” — Erich Heller
Today, I am choosing to remember what it was like to see a pretty yellow flower when I looked at a dandelion. I am choosing to follow in my Mom’s footsteps in order to see the joyful innocence in those chubby outstretched hands, rather than dandelion stains. Today, I will quiet my mind and open my heart, so I can breathe through the whirl of thoughts in my head and find a peaceful place. A place where I see the beauty in everything around me, in me, and in others.
“Look at everything as though you are seeing it either for the first or last time, then your time on earth will be filled with glory” — Betty Smith
“What happens is of little significance compared with the stories we tell ourselves about what happens. Events matter little, only stories of events affect us.” — Rabih Alameddine
“In this treacherous world nothing is the truth nor a lie. Everything depends on the color of the crystal through which one sees it” — Pedro Calderón de la Barca
“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” — Abraham Maslow
“Child, you have to learn to see things in the right proportions. Learn to see great things great and small things small.” — Corrie Ten Boom