Saturday, June 25, 2011


Purple Nurple

Does this image appear to be moving?  Especially in your peripheral vision?
It's actually a static image, fixed and unmoving, but the design tricks our mind into believing otherwise. 

Is It Green?
Is the center square green?  When you remove the background (brown) and the other remaining colors, you find that the center square is actually gray/black.
Is It Green? Solution

We must be very careful as we look at things in our lives, because our minds like to play tricks on us.  What we think we see, may not be what is actually there. Or when we look more closely, we may find images that we didn't first identify.

This is true, not only for this type of game that we play, but also for the relationships in our lives.  We only see the pieces that we look for, or that we're allowed to see.  Most of us hide a major portion of ourselves. This is to protect us from the daily damage that can be done by those around us, whether intentional or not. 

When I was teaching fourth grade, I placed a paper heart on the corner of each child's desk every morning.  When something happened to hurt that child in any way, they would tear a piece of their heart off.  All the pieces were kept in a special place in their desk and if something should happen during the day that made them feel good or better, they could put a piece back on their heart.  This was a signal to me and to their classmates what kind of day they were having.

The idea was to help us all recognize that even the tiniest thing said to someone else, even if the intention was good, can cause pain and damage to others.  Depending on other people and actions by them toward this person, a simple statement from us could be the 'final straw' on their stack of feelings for the day. If we saw that their heart had been torn to a very little piece left, we knew to reach out and help that person by extending a little extra kindness toward them.

The final lesson was that we started fresh every day.  When the day was over, there was nothing that could be done to undo it.  But tomorrow is a fresh start, a do-over.  With hope in our hearts, anything is possible.  

I was always amazed at the hearts by the time we went outside for our first recess:  10:00 a.m.  Many of those little hearts had been torn quite a bit in the first two hours of their day, some before they even got to school.  

I'm not sure that the long-term effects of this lesson were substantial for any of my kids, but at least during their year with me, more than just the 3 R's were addressed.  I've never understood how teachers and administrators believe you can address learning math or reading or science if your heart and your soul are hurting.  I'm not saying that one is more important than the other, I'm saying that you must address both to really help the child...or the adult.

I recently had a conversation with a man who is in the midst of some issues with the people that he works with.  He told me that he had been hearing the same thing from them for thirty years...they feel unappreciated, they feel they don't matter to him, they feel that what they do doesn't matter.  This man is very intelligent, is very strong, but when it comes to reaching people (and he's in the people business) he can't see their hearts.  He addresses the building and the program, but he doesn't know how to reach the people where it matters.  He feels badly about it, but he's lost in what to do.  

He sees the illusion, he sees the peripheral, but he doesn't see what's behind it.  It doesn't mean that he doesn't want to, he just never learned how and now, after thirty years in this business, he's wondering if he ever will. 

What he doesn't understand, is that to really see, he's going to have to make himself vulnerable.  He's going to have to open HIS heart and soul.  He can't get others to open theirs to him, if he's not willing to do the same.  That's the part people struggle with.  They've been hurt and let down so many times over the years that they have built a wall around their heart so that no one care tear it again.  The problem with this is that, while it does protect you, it also keeps you from the joy and the fun that you could also have, if you just take down the walls and take a chance. 

People like illusions.  They like to play the games of the mind, unless those games involve relationships with those closest to us.  Then they want sincerity and gentleness.  They want to know that when they risk extending their heart, that you will recognize their vulnerability and keep them safe.  Their hope is that you will see beyond the illusion to what is real and love them, all of them, anyway.    

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