Written for and posted to The Clade, but shared here because it matters.
I have been remiss. A dereliction not so much because I stopped caring, but more because I cared too much. About myself. About my family. About my future.
Does a mother with skin cancer stop the world from needing protection? Does unemployment mean I can no longer tend the flock of biophilia? Does a father’s battle with tumors and failing health, both circling him closer to the flame, somehow relieve me of the beauty I need share and the call to action I need sound?
Nay, I have been remiss. In a depression once reserved for the fate of our planet due to uncaring masses, I let myself become lost in pity. Pity for me. Pity for family. Pity for my cares and needs. But no more.
Life unfolds in great blossoms of being, petals touching and reaching as buzzing creatures visit to taste our essence, each one taking a bit of our life’s pollen before they journey to the next flower, the next being.
And all the while in lonely places we hope to be touched, to be noticed.
The world through eyes other than our own becomes a different thing. When seen from someplace else, we become alien, different, unrecognizable.
That’s because we see things as we are, not as they happen.
Want to know what your life is like? Ask those who observe it, participate in it yet do not own it.
We are what we do, not what we feel, not what we believe, not what we think.
Tinted by my own sense of self, life as I know it becomes unfamiliar when viewed from a perspective not defined by me.
Would that I might once see the world through the eyes of someone else, see the beauties they see that I miss, see the marvels they ponder that I ignore.
But I cannot refuse human nature. I see things as I am, not as they are, and I must live with the difference.
The flowers of my soul never will appear to me in the same hues others see.
I can only hope the petals are as soft.
Originally spilling from me more than a year ago, that brief introspection took on new life today as I tried to remember that which deserves attention. It was not my own needs, though I tried hard to convince myself otherwise. The needs I refer to are best captured in this photo:
Posted [at The Clade on May 1, 2009], this image came back to life today when I was contacted via Chris by an organization hoping to license the photo (and others in the same entry) for use in a cause I myself would champion. To wit (sans editorial marks):
I am currently working on a documentary program profiling (and awarding) young people who are doing amazing things in their communities. one of the people we are profiling is a 17 year old girl from Santa Monica, CA who is working to raise awareness about the effect of plastic in our oceans as well as trying to change people’s habits when it comes to plastic use. I am interested in using these photos to help illustrate just how dangerous plastic debris can be for animals.
In later missives on the subject, this company with a name you would most certainly recognize made clear their seriousness in publicizing the efforts and achievements of young people who are trying to make a difference, who are working for a better tomorrow, a better world for everyone.
I felt embarrassed. Where had my passion gone? Was it so wrapped up in me that it no longer appeared as vigilant as the mockingbirds challenging each other outside my window? Had the world seen through my eyes become irretrievably lost within the reflection of self staring back at me?
We do indeed see things as we are, not as they exist. Often it behooves us to accept that, to acknowledge the differences between what is and what is thought to be in our own minds.
Though I will share the company name and documentary information at a later date, for now I stand in awe at the behest of a 17-year-old girl in Santa Monica, along with her fellow environmental advocates, for reminding me of what had been lost. And for calling me to arms in a battle I walked away from simply because my rose-colored glasses blinded me.
“We are what we do, not what we feel, not what we believe, not what we think.” I hope I understand my own words now…