across the yard,
around the pond
over the haycock,
past the mill,
through the fence,
under the beehives,
and got back in time for dinner.
– – –
Do you know the picture story “Rosie’s Walk” by Pam Hutchins? The delight of it is that the pictures tell a different story from the words. Rosie the hen takes a happy little walk, but in the pictures we the readers spot the wicked fox tailing Rosie. He pounces on her and misses, landing on a rake and knocking himself out. He tries again by the pond and falls in. He tries repeatedly to catch her – each attempt a disaster – until finally he lands in a cart which runs out of control into a beehive, setting off an angry swarm of bees.
Meanwhile Rosie, serenely unaware of these catastrophic events, trots contentedly back into the hen house after her walk. …
I know people that trail disaster in their wake blithely unaware just like that, don’t you?!
But how many times does any of us flap our butterfly wings and cause a hurricane elsewhere? Hard to tell! – we all wear filters. Becoming aware of these filters – and expanding our awareness – is one of the most useful insights I’ve gained from NLP.
Bird’s eye view
“Rosie’s Walk” already offers one excellent method to expand awareness – get a bird’s eye view. When you have an issue, rise above it in your mind – way up as high as the moon if you want – and witness yourself and the elements of the problem from there. Seeing the picture as a whole like that often gives you new insights. Crucially, it enables you to view the whole system – and that allows you to recognise more complex relationships between the elements and see beyond the obvious sequence of A causes B, or A means B.
In my own life, when I suffered terrible performance anxiety and failed an audition in a grand Italian opera house it seemed an utter disaster at the time. I gave the event a meaning, “Failure.” (capital F!)
But the bird’s eye view of a couple of decades later – seeing the event in context – makes me realise the wealth of learning I’ve picked up from that experience – about performance anxiety, resilience, humour, compassion, understanding of human nature and more. I use the rich learning from that “failure” positively every week. “Failure” has in fact become “Resource”.
If you stick to one view like “Rosie” or a single label like “Failure” you often miss the bigger picture. Some people do that with their whole life by giving it a label such as “Life of a Victim” or Life of a Loser;” and rather than gradually growing a fresh wider perspective, life events are instead forced to fit the constricting old label.
So how can you adopt the bird’s eye view?
For some it comes naturally – they take different views of a situation as a matter of course. They are the people to model!
For me, it’s about deliberately making space every now and then and stepping out of the fully absorbing colourful business of living.
A friend of mine just says a loud internal “STOP!” ever so often, and this makes him pause to look at the system that is his life. He says his life is like a tangled ball of string, “But tangled or not, on those occasions I look at it as a whole and see that it is a perfectly shaped ball!”
If you took a large sheet of paper and ‘put’ your life on it – filling the page freely with pictures or words to illustrate all the different parts of your existence – and then, having put it away for a day, looked at the whole paper afresh – bird’s eye view – I wonder what connections would occur to you …
… quite a few I would I imagine …
Perhaps you’d like to let me know!
Hottest day of the year since 2006 this week – wonderful summer,