Friday, June 24, 2016

How’s the view from there?

Bird’s eye view

I studied architecture for several years. One of the first things that I learned was perspective drawing, the technique that illustrates dimension and depth on a flat surface. There are a number of different methods that are used in perspective drawing, including one called bird’s eye view and one called worm’s eye view. As their names imply, they try to simulate the view of objects in front of you as if you were viewing them from the sky (bird’s eye) or from flat on the ground (worm’s eye). 

Worm’s eye view
The two photos to the right are excellent examples of bird’s eye and worm’s eye views. To me, the interesting thing about these photos is that the scenes being viewed, whether from the sky or from the ground, are beautiful. It is also apparent that there are features of each scene that cannot be seen from just one viewpoint. It is only when they are viewed from the sky and from the ground that you can take in all the details and richness of each scene.

Do you look at things in your life from different viewpoints? Do you try to place things in perspective? Do you try to envision others’ points of view?

I have a client who recently ran into a bureaucratic mess with the IRS. Her income tax refund got delayed because a certain government form was never sent to her. She is in her sixties, earns very little money, and was really counting on her refund. Unfortunately, the delay caused her to fall behind on her rent and she was eventually evicted from her apartment, forced to live on the street for days.

After some time she found a shelter that provides her with a small room, at a small rent. There are many restrictions on her hours and her access to the shelter, but for now, it beats living on the street in 110 degree temperatures. The interesting thing about this woman is that she has a great perspective on her situation and a great outlook on life. She told me today that it could always be worse, that she has a secure, cool place to live, and now her tax refund is being pushed through, soon to be deposited into her account.

As if dealing with IRS bureaucracy wasn’t enough, she had to renew her driver’s license yesterday and had to deal with the Department of Transportation. She walks with a cane and tolerates a substantial amount of pain. And still, all she could say to me was that while standing in the long line at the DOT, she only noticed how cool it was inside and how nice everyone treated her. She enjoyed the company of her fellow “renewers” and made the very best of what many of us find to be an unpleasant experience. In one way, life has given her a worm’s eye view of the world, but she refuses to look down and always notices the beauty and kindness of those around her. I find her inspiring.

So, whether you have a bird’s eye view or a worm’s eye view of the world, it shouldn’t really matter. Just look around, find the beauty and the goodness, and put everything into perspective. It could be worse and tomorrow may be a whole lot better. Thanks for reading.

Alan Leafman, President
(800) 955-0418