Sometimes, life gives us little moments of pondering and reflection to truly see something in a different perspective.
I love finding these moments and using certain experiences to create 'parables' and little moral-of-the-story kind of messages. Something that popped out at me recently was a painting in the accommodation for the temple in Sydney.
So here is the Parable of the Painting!
Sometimes in my own life, I can get so fixated on small moments that I'm going through. Moments like, 'Oh my gosh this driving lesson is freaking me out and I'm terrified of failing' or 'All my friends are going through things and I don't know how to help them or if they even want my help' and it becomes the biggest thing that is happening to me at that very moment. It consumes me. I become utterly fixated. And yet, when I look back at certain things in my younger teen years, moments that I thought were going to go on for ages and that would never end (Like my fear of public speaking; I hate public speaking, or being in the public eye, so it made it a very big trial in my life that I overcame) and now I barely think about it. I got perspective through time and coming out of that experience, but during that time I almost thought I was going to die from the fear and the unknown future.
Anxiety also doesn't help the fact that I have an overactive imagination. I can go from sitting perfectly fine, content with who I am as a person and what I'm doing, and then I start to think about things and let my imagination take a little stroll, and all hell breaks loose. I can literally imagine myself into a fearful, nervous, and paralysed state. When that happens, I have NO perspective. All I'm living right at that moment, in the heat of every emotion.
And sometimes I feel like that's what we all do, in a sense. We all make plans for the future, rethink the past obsessively until it hurts us and stunts our growth, and lose the present because of these thought patterns. We make decisions that feel good now, but how will they affect us (or others) later down the track when we aren't in that moment anymore? Without perspective, to look at our past and not repeat history but to give the future a chance, we rationalise our decisions and make decisions that ultimately aren't for our good. We can't take a step back and think, 'Is that what I TRUELY want? Will it make me happy, not just for now, but in a week from now or a year?'
Life is kind of like a painting - a series of decisions and moments in life put on a canvas for all to see. When you're young, it's just blank. But as you start to go through things, have experiences, make relationships, each line of paint and ink is placed upon the canvas.
At first, paintings don't look like anything. They're just weird blobs of nothing. Weird patterns of shaded blue here and heavy black there, but nothing that you can make out as anything bigger. Some might see it as ugly, some might be absolutely in love with it and every single detail, and some might see it as nothing and pass over it, and you might not even appreciate it. We might start to compare it to other people's paintings, saying how theirs is so much more beautiful and detailed than our hot mess of weird lines and mismatched colours.
All of our paintings our individual for us. No one else has our painting, and no one else will. There might be familiar and similar patterns in certain sections, but you can be guaranteed that your painting is one of a kind and beautiful on its own merit, and what you do with your own painting is on you. You have the ability to change it if the lines are starting to veer off and not match what you had dreamed. You can change the colour scheme if it isn't working. You can change the imagine mid way and make it into a hybrid that really speaks to you.
As we come to learn what we want to be painted, we gain perspective as we can reflect on what has already been painted, and eventually, one day, when we are on our death bed, we can look back on our entire life - our painting - and see every beautiful and tragic and gloriously happy memory and see that it was all there for a reason.
what do you want your painting to look like, and do your decisions day to day reflect that?
As we gain perspective from each line, we realise that everything we go through has its purpose - its own line to add to the rest of the painting. And doesn't that just give a fantastic perspective of hope and faith?
So stop teaching yourself to step nose up to your painting, only looking at what you can see directly in front of you or what is happening to you. You only get a few lines of the entire picture. Take a step back, take a moment to really see what you're looking at, and ponder to yourself if that moment or what you're going through now is just adding a rock, or a cloud, to your enormous painting.