07 May 2012
What Do You See?
On first glance it seems just a lovely picture, a boy in a field of flowers. And even though the flowers are poppies and the boy is actually working in the field, topping the poppies to prepare them for harvest and eventual processing into opium; the picture itself is still, for me, lovely.
Maybe I should view it differently. After all the many cultural and societal strictures against the production and use of narcotics, not to mention the reality that this child probably works all day topping poppies to earn less than one dollar, maybe I should feel offended - even outraged - by this photo. Yet I don't feel either. And honestly I consider that personal progress.
I spent too many years viewing other people and situations with judgement. Anyone or anything that didn't fit MY view of things surely must have been wrong - deserving of my criticism. I'd refuse to see any "good" side, or the beauty, or the opportunity for learning or change - refuse to be changed, to even consider that I could change, that it might be a good thing for me. I wanted everything and everyone simple - and by simple I meant in agreement with me.
It took nearly six decades before I learned to appreciate the complexity, the profundity, the chaotic and paradoxical in my own life and self, which led inevitably toward appreciating those same characteristics in the world around me. I still fight against it, and want to be RIGHT, to have others do what I want them to, to have situations turn how the way I want them to. But, these days, I catch those thoughts and can (usually) see them for the psychological bloody piles they are.
So it does seem to be personal progress that I can appreciate the beauty of this picture, the contrast of textures and the intensity of the white of the flowers (very interesting too since white is the absence of color), the composition, the soft focus of the boy's expression - even as my acculturated thinking says "what a terrible thing." Having opened up more to how little I actually know for sure, how not-in-charge I am of most everything, how much time - and energy - I use judging and attempting to control; I am better able to connect with the loveliness of the picture AND into an appreciation of the combination of darkness and light inherent there.
Sure, none of this is a life-altering revelation or epiphany - but from such awarenesses and appreciations as these, of such ways of seeing, if not differently at least more comprehensively, is a life worth living made. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. What do you see?