Wednesday, December 10, 2014

On Seeking Home

Oasis Reflection: Obstacles are a matter of perception...
La Ventana "Windows" Park in Condado. San Juan, Puerto Rico

What is your view?


Recently, I've been reading On Moving: A Writer's Meditation on New Houses, Old Hauts, and Finding Home Again by Louise DeSalvo. the author addresses the topic of "home"and the strong desire people have to choose the perfect home. I started to think about how often people move and how most of us hope that a new location will solve most of our problems.

However, I am sure that we bring our problems with us wherever we go. What I mean is that the cause of our dissatisfaction is often not external, but internal. It's part of our personality and/or is shaped by our attitude.  I admit that like DeSalvo, I love to travel.  I love to imagine my life in those new unknown places; nevertheless, it's healthy to remember that our disturbances come with us wherever we find ourselves.

What do you see in the photograph above? Do you notice the rock in the center? The water flowing over the rocks to form a small pool of water in the right foreground? Or the deep blue ocean in the distance? Our perspective informs what we allow ourselves to see and experience. The rock can be seen as an obstacle to blocking access to the water or an interesting formation to scale up and over - an opportunity to see the unobstructed ocean from the top. However, what we see remains with us no matter where we go.

I believe that we have to be bravely curious about our obstacles in life and learn from these ever present rocks.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.


Excerpt from "On the Pulse of Morning" by Maya Angelou


Simon and Garfunkel "I am a rock"
© 2014 Cynthia Pittmann

23 comments:

  1. This is an excellent post, professor. Many of us had the opportunity to travel to other countries and we felt incredible there. We saw all the things as perfect ones, but we did not think we were tourists in those countries. The reality is totally different. Like you said, we bring our problems with us wherever we go. If we are looking for home out of our island, we have to keep in mind the problems we still with us. But it's all about perspective. What it seems to me an obstacle or a problem can be a great tool for motivation to other people. We are the responsibles to accept or deny our problems and we are the ones who can overcome it. A life without any obstacle can not be call "life". They help us to grow and we learn a lot from them. Obstacles make us stronger everyday. By the way, I enjoyed the music video attached. Happy holidays!

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    1. Thanks for the visit, Alessandra. I often think about people who say, "I'm leaving the island! I can take it here anymore!" I know that they are mistaken in thinking that we have more problems that the rest of the world. So many people don't enjoy the beach, take walks in nature...we just need balance. Thank you for your lovely reflection. The Paul Simon song is about avoiding life experience by being isolated from others; however, as you know we need connection to feel love. Happy holidays to you, too!

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  2. As I look at the picture I imagine all the waves coming from the deep blue ocean that have hit the rock through all these years and have made it look as it does in the picture, also the fact that the pool of water is not only there because of the wave, but also its purpose is to form the rock! I completely agree that our problems are related to our personality, since how you deal with the rocks in your life is independent from the place you escape to but completely related to how you approach it, which is all a matter of your attitude and about how you're feeling.

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    1. Yes, Gerardo. You see how the rock is not "bad" or "good"- in the sense that most people relate. In fact the water has literally made the rock and developed its distinct beauty - if only we can see it. It's fun to escape for a while but a traveler knows that there is beauty off the beaten trail. Thanks for you reflective comment!

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  3. Great post professor. Many people like to travel just to run away from their problems, but in the end you can't escape yourself and your thoughts. Being a tourist lets us forget about reality for a moment and I think this is the feeling people look for when they move to a different country or new home. Sometimes a change in the environment we live in helps us with the thinking process, but in the end we have to solve our problems and we can't hide or run away forever. I loved the exercise with the photo I didn't think about it a first, but made me realize that I have to see beyond the immediate obstacle in order to find the answer. As Alessandra said: it's all about perspective. Happy holidays!

    Link to my blog reflection: http://literatureparadise.blogspot.com/2014/11/blog-reflection-serendipity.html

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    2. Yes, Valeria, the obstacle can fill our view so much that we don't see the surrounding beauty or notice the beauty in the "obstacle." I continue to have various rocks "obstructing" my view (such as the problem of the homeless on the streets) only I know that their presence is not a problem. If I feel something then I need to respond in a way I believe helps. Thanks for your meditative reflection! Happy Holidays to you as well! on On Seeking Home

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  4. I really enjoyed that excerpt from "On the Pulse of Morning" by Maya Angelou (she's one of my favorite poets) because it gives such a great insight into life. It goes so well with the message you set out to convey through this blog post since it pretty much talks about the same thing: life's obstacles. Whenever we face a rock in the road that is blocking our way, we should step on top of it and get a better view of where we are going instead of backing down and giving up. In a sense, obstacles are needed in order to shape our journey through life and get a better point of view on where we are so far.

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    1. True, Luis. I appreciate that climbing to the top idea. In a way, obstacles give us satisfaction that we "made it to the top." I remember when I climbed to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite. It was such an exhilarating hike. From the top, I could see that everything is relative, i.e., life off of the mountain seemed so small. How could problems overtake us? We just have to obtain the correct perspective and our options are only limited by our imagination. By the way, I bought a T-shirt that said, "I made it to the top!" I believe that's how you will feel when you complete your studies!

      http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/halfdome.htm

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  5. I loved that excerpt you included. Honestly I didn't notice the rock on first glance; I kept staring at the vast sea, but once you asked what we first focused on I immediately scrolled up to appreciate the rest of the picture, haha.
    Although moving to new places won't immediately get rid of problems, I think it's more of what you do in that new place. Like those who travel to find themselves; I think it's that shift in place and perspective that gives people a new idea on how to go on about life. Something like this doesn't just happen out of the blue, you have to put in effort.

    Like the saying? Reap what you sow?
    If you don't put in the effort of planting happy thoughts and being proactive in change, you won't get the results you'd expect.

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    1. Vanessa, it's true that a new place demands a new kind of effort. Just like university life requires that you build on skills learned from high school, but it is so very different. For example, relationships, diversity, expectations are completely different. It's interesting and insightful that you don't notice the rocks! Are you generally optimistic as well?
      Thanks for the reflection!

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  6. I agree with the statement “What I mean is that the cause of our dissatisfaction is often not external, but internal. It's part of our personality and/or is shaped by our attitude”. Definitely attitude is so relevant on how we feel about home or circumstances. Also happens with perspective. We can see the rock as an obstacle but also like an ankle we can hold when wind binds and wave try to arouse us. Many things can be relative to perspective, but I definitely agree that we can’t stand a hold the same all the time. Be open, be free, waves can get us as far as we which if we put our emotions into actions. Enjoy weekend and nice reflection!
    P.S it reminds me , the song like a rock from Bob Seger -- http://youtu.be/wfUY4l1UpoU

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    1. Yes, Katherine, attitude and perspective make all the difference. I like what you wrote about the rock being like an anchor when you might need it. It's similar to holding ourselves back to gain confidence and strength. Then when we are ready, we can cut the rope that binds us to the rock/anchor and try a little more freedom. Interesting connection and true as well!
      Enjoy the holidays!

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  7. Vanessa, it's true that a new place demands a new kind of effort. Just like university life requires that you build on skills learned from high school, but it is so very different. For example, relationships, diversity, expectations are completely different. It's interesting and insightful that you don't notice the rocks! Are you generally optimistic as well?
    Thanks for the reflection!

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  8. I think the perfect home is basically the one where you live. Your family, your daily routine, your commodity and your happiness in your home is what make it perfect and unchangeable. No matter the place we go, there will always be a external problem ( criminality, accessibility, etc) that will influence our commodity in that place, but our internal way to saw them, and attitude toward them is what dictate if we could live with them, or just get into desperation and move to another place. Is not the external influences what should make your home a perfect one, is your internal attitude and peace what would do it, perfect. I am totally agree that the things, (in the vast majority of that cases) are the way you perceive and see it in you self, you could see a paradise or a danger rock in the middle of the beach.
    In other hand, I what to thanks you in given us the opportunity during this class of learning and enjoying at the same time showing us different activities where we can express our perspective and better knowing our internal journey.
    here is the link of by blog… http://luisrafalediazrios.blogspot.com/

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    1. I suppose that for some people, home is not ideal so then it is not perfect. However, I understand what you are saying, i.e. that we are shaped by our home and conditioned to enjoy life there. Some people want to experience a new life (for many reasons) and that is why they go to a new place to live. They either must leave home or have a strong desire to leave - some leave home temporarily but then it becomes permanent. I have moved many times in my life so "home" has to be where I am.

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  9. Hello Professor, through your writing I've had the opportunity to reflect about obstacles in many different ways. Indeed, obstacles are seen how we want to perceive them. Each one of them is different, which is what help us grow and modify our perspective to aspects in life. In the picture, the rock is a very important part of the beautiful landscape, as obstacles are part of our everyday life. It is also true that whether we move to a new place or stay in our home, these difficulties are within us, and must be solved by us. Thanks Professor, I enjoyed reading this post very much. I hope you enjoy the holidays!

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    1. Yes, Airined, sometimes we understand more about ourselves by learning from the rocks in our path even if we decide to remain in our hometown. Many challenges are present in all of life and through facing them we can develop confidence in our journey.

      Thank you for your holiday wishes and the same to you!

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  10. Hello Professor! I really liked this post! It is short, but precise and direct. I agree with you! We have our difficulties, our experiences, memories and thousands of things more that we take with us no matter the place we go. It is in us how to handle our situations and be able to face the reality. The rock can be part of the road and it is true, many of us see the rock as an obstacle, but we must be positive and use it as instrument to see what future awaits us because if you stand on the top of it, you will surely have a better view. Similarly we must do that with our problems and situations, used as stairs, like a support to see the great reward waiting for us. Happy Holidays Professor!

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    1. Yes, our ability to adapt and enjoy life reside in us. Our personality sometimes makes us more optimistic than others, but we can always work on our attitude. I liked your stairs analogy because in fact, many students will be climbing for many years to reach the last level; i.e., becoming a professional in their chosen field. I wish you every success! Happy holidays to you, too, Debora!

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  11. Lovely reflections on a gorgeous photo and a terrific song! Home to me is defined by my family, not the walls.

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    1. Yes, I see that Sarah. It's possible to celebrate home wherever you are, as long as you are surrounded by people you love.

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  12. I read your blog, Its fantastic with Good information.
    Content Writing

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