What Are You Not Seeing?

“Because my eyes are not yet accustomed to the desert” the boy said. “I can see things that eyes habituated to the desert might not see.” from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


In college, and later when I was working as a graphic designer, the hard and fast rule was “Never proof your own stuff.” That was the rule. It was something that people understood instinctively. Most people realized that any work that you created was nearly impossible to look at objectively. You were just too close to the piece. That’s why critics were done in art classes and you always had someone look over your work before submitting. When you look at something enough, you see what you think is there instead of what might really be there. Have you seen something that has been right in front of you for years and said “I never realized that was there”? That’s because you weren’t looking for it. I’m sure that happens to all of us at one point or another.

Many times it takes someone else to show us something new in our lives and maybe it’s something that’s been there all along. Many times when that happens we feel silly or stupid. Don’t feel that way. It is part of being human. Our brain filters information that it thinks is relevant and throws out the rest. If you don’t think it’s important, then it’s not and all information regarding it is disregarded. When I create a piece of art, I have an image in my head of what I think it should be and that factors into what I see. If you don’t have another person to look at it for you, the trick is to look at it in a mirror. The flaws you could not see before become very visible with this new perspective.

The key to seeing what is there and not what you think is there is getting a different view. It is about changing perspective. It’s about allowing the new information to come into your awareness. A great practice to support in this is trying different routes to the places you always go. Another way is to have conversation with new people and listen to their points of view without judging them. Spend the time listening instead of talking. Read books that are not your “type”, try some new food, or go to a movie you would not normally see. These are all great ways to begin a habit of allowing in new perspectives, new views, and new information.


In Love and Light


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