Last weekend my friend and I went for a nature walk to a waterfall near our town where we sat and talked about the things we were thankful for.
I was looking at a boulder just in front of us, distracted by its beauty, while I pondered being grateful.
I looked at it with an artist’s eye, thinking “… wouldn’t that look amazing in my back yard.” I soon realized that much of the rocks beauty was in its surroundings. It is crowded in on all sides by both things that helped shape it and things that were affected as it was. It was not made somewhere to be a part for something else, it was made where it stood, created with what it stood with.
I wasn’t distracted long, I’d taken my medication, I’ve been practicing staying in the moment. When I returned to our conversation I realized I had been distracted by something I admire, something I’m thankful for, the beauty of nature. I added it to my list.
I looked at my friend and realized that my million-mile-an-hour thoughts were invisible to her. All she had seen was me staring at a rock and all she had heard was my adding nature to my Thanksgiving list. I could have been anywhere in my mind and I could have come back with any offering for the annual gratitude treasure hunt.
I could have disappeared for that trip into hyperspace and returned telling her how much I hate tofu … don’t get me started, ‘kay? If I’d come back and said something totally out of sync with our conversation, she would have taken it in stride. Others aren’t so generous.
I started thinking about that rock and taking it home. Not that I was going to, but how I’d thought that it would look good in my back yard. I realized that, as I said before, it would lose much of its beauty in the loss of its surroundings. Taken out of context it wouldn’t be the same stunning visual gift it was where it sat.
My thoughts are like boulders, they are never as beautiful, once out of my mouth, as they were inside my head. Still worse, they are never as beautiful to others as they are to me. They are seen out of the context of the wild and messy mind in which they were formed. Those thoughts, that mind are beautiful parts of nature.
What I say often gets judged by those who cannot see my thoughts, cannot see where they were formed. They appraise my statements in the context of their own thoughts, their own passions and their own troubles. And my thoughts and statements are often found wanting.
Taken in the context of their thoughts, your words may look to them more like mud than beautiful, stately stones.
This should be everyone’s problem. But sadly, it is not. While everyone should be able to present their thoughts in an accepting and nurturing arena of discourse, the truth is that you can have the best of intentions, but that won’t make others understand your words or your hopes for those words. Taken in the context of their thoughts, your words may look to them more like mud than beautiful, stately stones.
It is our job when we speak and write, to accept that others may be judging our colorful thoughts and dreams by the spectrum of their own minds. They may not be able to see the colors we paint with. All we can do is try again, or accept their limits and their judgment without rancor.
All we can do is keep doing what we were made to do. All we can do is run a million miles away in our minds and come back a second later with our best offerings, our wildest, most passionate and colorful thoughts, and give them to the world with hope for a better reception. Sooner or later, with our persistence, they may see the colors we see. My friend tries, and succeeds.
And for that, I am thankful.
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From Psych Central's website:
World Mental Health Day Blog Party, October 10, 2012 | World Mental Health Day (October 10, 2012)
Me and ADHD- A journey of discovery (October 14, 2012)
Last reviewed: 10 Oct 2012