Monday, July 22, 2013

A Full Perspective: The Recovery Lens

Perspective is an interesting meditation for me today. I have my high school best friend visiting me this week. Of course we are reminiscing and recalling events from our earlier lives. It has been good for me to remember what I was like in those pre-marriage days. Hearing her perspective has been helpful and interesting. Seeing my reflection in her eyes has given me some added dimension to my recovery. I find myself saying things like “Really? You saw me that way?” or “I don’t remember doing that!” Having her mirror me this way has surfaced a lot of memories and thoughts about myself. What a gift. I am so thankful.

However, this post is about perspective. I got to thinking about the different lens’ I have worn through the years. As a very young child, I imagine I mostly reflected what was modeled so maybe that could be called the parents lens. As I sought love and attention, I created a coping lens. Both of those were about looking at my life in the present at that time. I have likely brought some of those images with me into adulthood. When my dad was in his anger and rage phase, I had the victim lens. All problems were blamed on his anger. As I grew into a young adult, I focused on what I could be or do – with hope and optimism.

As an adult, the lens I use is how I view my past as well as the present. In retrospect, I moved from the victim lens to the “I’ll do it differently” lens. This is that “now that I’m an adult, I will do it my way and certainly not how my parents did things.” That lens shows some independence but also the shallowness of my one-sided thinking typical of the immaturity of that age. Later on, the lens that served me well over the years was the Pollyanna lens. That has been helpful to move from victim and martyr to optimism and thankfulness. That lens minimizes some of the pain and unresolved trauma, though, and it was the lens that I wore in looking at my childhood when entering therapy. Removing that lens was work.

This last year I got a new lens. Let’s just call it the recovery lens. It is the most diverse and magical lens. It has the ability to adapt and it has special filters. When needed, the focus is on family of origin. At other times, it is on the child within, or on setting and upholding boundaries. It has been needed to block out the Pollyanna stuff so that I can see how an issue has affected my behavior and not be confused with other issues or events. Having a filter hasn't been the easiest way to see life. Sometimes it seems one-dimensional since I have not been used to focusing on one part or layer of the picture, or one aspect of my life. It is kind of like suddenly seeing only blue tones. So I've been viewing blue tones, and at time just green tones, and others the red tones or purple tones, and those tough grey tones.  I have at times even applied a couple of tones at once.

Having my friend here has brought a new filter, shall we call them the yellow tones? Her perspective is raising some interesting questions I have for myself. It is causing me to dig a little deeper into my memory and recall some things that I buried or possibly just didn't ever consider. This filter is one I've not been able to do on my own because it is in her sharing her perspective as someone who knew me [well] at that time (and not a family member) that I have had my thoughts challenged a bit. I'm able now to start applying the other filters and an even truer image of my life.

I am ready to begin lifting the filters. It is good to see some of the depth and breadth and dimension to my life unfold after this last year of recovery. My ultimate desire is to have my perspective of my life be in full color! I don’t have to minimize or discount the pain and dysfunction, but I also appreciate and acknowledge the gifts and blessings that bring joy and gratitude. That is the beauty and value in this recovery lens; I can just apply the filter when I need it, and then lift it when I don't. There is such richness and clarity to seeing the whole picture now. I see details l missed before because of the appreciation and growth.

This lens is really going to help in creating The SaraCanvas! Now I'm prepping my brushes. Painting should commence soon. 

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