A Powerful Change – To a New Perspective

It has been a long time since we have had many of the cloudy days that Western Washington is known for until just recently when the clouds rolled in for a quick reminder of the grey skies that typically blanket our region. I was fortunate to be travelling across the state on this overcast day which would take me to the sunnier skies of Eastern Washington. However, upon my journey, I found a new appreciation for the clouds in the sky simply by a shift in my own perspective.

the view FROM BELOW

As I drove to the airport under a grey layer of ‘nature’s sunblock’ it was a natural impulse to think to myself: ‘When will these clouds ever clear up?’ Ironic isn’t it? How quickly the negative thoughts can take over, considering we have just had one of the longest and sunniest summers on record.

At this point in the day, I can already feel the disappointment in myself as I allow an outside force to change my mindset so quickly.

However it will not be until after I get to the airport, cattle my way through security, cram myself into an airline seat, shut down all portable electronic devices, clench my fists through take-off and at last look out the window, that I will have the epiphany of a change in my point of view.

the thoughts GET WORSE

This is the danger of negative feelings, one seems to attract another: grey skies, no view, tight seat, close stranger.

As the plane ascended into the sky there was just a moment or two of watching the houses and cars get smaller and smaller before clouds seemed to enrobe the plane and nothing was visible but a complete murky haze. They say things do get worse before they get better.  So this was my chance to remember how uncomfortable the seat was and how close the person next to me seemed to be (We were practically touching thighs and I have personal space issues, but I will save that for a separate post and counselling session). This is the danger of negative feelings, one seems to attract another: grey skies, no view, tight seat, close stranger. So I settle into acceptance with headphones in, legs pulled together to avoid accidental touching and eyes drifting solemnly into the haze, imagining all the uncertainties that could be hidden behind the curtain in the sky.

the view FROM ABOVE 

My mind had just started to numb when things started to break up.  The sun started to break through, and Mother Nature was changing my perspective for me. It was hard to come around at first.  The sun was brighter than I had grown accustomed to on our ascent and I wondered if I should pull down the cover to stay in the comfort of darkness I was creating in my mind. But then, as I looked down to the view pictured here, my breath was taken away.  We were now above the clouds, looking down on what seemed an endless flow of down pillows framing the view of the Cascades and Mount Rainier as we crossed over them. I completely relaxed, started having positive thoughts and though I do not know for sure, I may have even accidentally touched a thigh and not even noticed.

moving BEYOND THE CLOUDS

Could they be staring up seeing these as dull as I was earlier, or are they thinking about how breathtaking the view might be from above?

It was in this moment that I was able to really think about my current circumstances. There were thousands of people at that very moment viewing these same clouds from below as I had just been seeing them a couple short hours before.  I thought back to how I was not able to think about what splendor they might be creating from a different point of view and wondered if anyone on the ground could imagine what a beautiful heaven these same clouds were creating up here. Could they be staring up seeing these as dull as I was earlier, or are they thinking about how breathtaking the view might be from above?  I began to see this as proof that a simple change in point of view in any situation is very powerful.  Same clouds. Same day. Same person. Different point of view. New perspective!

change your POINT OF VIEW

How many ways can we apply this in other areas of our lives?  How many situations have you experienced where you feel like the clouds are closing in on you and the situation is getting pretty grim.  It is those days where you wonder how long it will be before you see the sun again.

How often have you been able to look back once you are through the situation with a new perspective and appreciation for the dark days of the past?

I urge you to keep these days in mind when you are in your cloudiest hours and know that your situation, with a simple change in perspective, has a positive outlook from some hidden vantage point. You never know what a bad experience could be preparing you for in the long run.  Before you know it, touching thighs could turn into rubbing elbows and rubbing elbows could open up your next great opportunity.  It is true after all that every cloud does have a silver lining!

Thank you for flying on this journey with me.  Especially thanks to those around me who continue to keep my mind in the right perspective.  Please be sure to share your point of view in the comments section below. As always thank you for ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ with your friends.

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Andy Vargohttp://www.awkwardcareer.com/
Keynote speaker, life coach, author and entertainer, Andy Vargo is all about helping you live your best life by learning how to ‘Own Your Awkward’! If you ever feel awkward about yourself, then you can understand how Andy Vargo lived the first forty years of his life. Coming out of the closet at forty doesn’t define him, pursuing his passion to help others does. During the day, Andy works corporate and school events as a motivational speaker and helps people master life changes as a one on one life coach. At night you can find him working stages around the northwest as a comedian making light of his journey with the gift of laughter. Awkward is not only his brand, but his style as Andy encourages each of us to ‘Own Your Awkward’ and be true to your genuine selves. In addition to authoring the Awkward Journal Series, Andy hosts the podcast, Own Your Awkward, co-hosts the Be The Better Local Show on BD Local and shares thoughts and ideas in his blog and video series available at awkwardcareer.
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Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler

Love the way you went from spiraling down hill to rising above the clouds. Great story.

Melissa Hughes, Ph.D.

Oh my, Andy! I just love this! The imagery was so powerful for me. (I’m a sunshine girl and dark cloudy days affect my moods more than most.) But you are so right that usually on our darkest days, there is a glimmer of sunshine from some different vantage point. Often, the problem is that we are so firmly entrenched in that negative space that we can’t open our minds to a better space.

This is the part I’m holding on to today: “A simple change in point of view in any situation is very powerful. Same clouds. Same day. Same person. Different point of view. New perspective!” Thank you for sharing this!

Sarah Elkins
Sarah Elkins

This reminds me of your view from the “cheap seats”, Melissa! We cannot see our own patterns – or a way out of them – when we are in the middle of them.

محمدهويدي

ANDY’s enormous vocabulary gives his writing a reach and immense depth.

Laura Staley

I appreciate this article/topic very much, Andy, as I’ve lived through many dark days/nights of the soul as they say. In the most recent turbulent times of five years ago as my life as I knew it imploded all around me, I took many positive actions for my life. I lived a both/and experience of one moment really challenging, the next moment beautiful, uplifting, inspiring, next moment terrifyingly dark. Not one day contained all “clouds” or all “sunshine.” As I lived through this I screamed, cried, laughed all in one paragraph. And the intense ride of contrasts with each intake and exhale of breath taught me to detach, to ground in the very center of my being-that dynamic “Sweet Spot” of equanimity with all things. Not only did I begin to trust that “this too will pass.” I notice even today I have shifted to flowing through life experiences with an unshakeable grace, adaptability, responsiveness, trust….returning again and again to the Sweet Spot while sailing (though I have never been on a sailboat I do get the metaphor). I also no longer sweat the small stuff of life. I gained much needed perspective about what I really value, what I care passionately about in being alive.

These experiences taught me to strengthen the very core of my inner being, that part of me that watches the storms, the thoughts, feelings, the rainbows, the impermanence of life.

Thank you for a thoughtful post and the opportunity to share!

Sarah Elkins
Sarah Elkins

Great reminder here, Andy. As I mentioned in a response to Melissa’s comment, she talks about the view of the patterns of the baseball field from the “cheap seats” high up in the bleachers, and how difficult it is to see them, much less to create or adjust them, when you’re down there in the weeds and tall grass.

Your post is similar in the idea of taking things in from a different perspective, and I love the imagery you use of people below the clouds and the potential for considering what might be beyond what they can see. Everything is temporary, knowing there are sunny skies somewhere can really help us get through tough situations.

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