Back when I was a health educator, a simple training exercise revealed a surprising truth: most people see change as about loss, not gain. It’s a lesson that’s stayed with me as the years have rolled on, nudging me to remember that stepping towards the proverbial sunnier side of the street can greatly improve perspective.

Unfortunately, reframing deficiencies or emptiness in a positive light may not be enough to offer comfort or inspire forward momentum when reserves are low.

I admit that when I’m feeling especially powerless I’m more likely to take solace in the fact that even world leaders have half-empty moments over trivial matters than I am to seek the upbeat. It soothes me to think of former US President Woodrow Wilson (allegedly) stating:

Golf is a game in which one endeavors to control a ball with implements ill adapted for the purpose.

When looking to amplify strategies for replenishment, though, I rather reluctantly attest that a switch in mindset—no matter how forced—seems to encourage optimism’s arrival.

Anyone beg to differ?

…perhaps bringing calm to chaotic days requires viewing absence as something that permits clearer views, allows exploration within expanded boundaries, draws attention to intriguing qualities, gives breathing room while forcing careful calculations, or creates an unexpected place to shelter…

(top to bottom: A sliver of Barbara Hepworth’s “Figure for Landscape” (1960), a piece that adds sinuous curves to the San Diego Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden; Oahu’s historic Waialua Sugar Mill now manufactures surfboards, soap, coffee, and more, but its disassembled parts speak to a grittier past; a hard-used, early model Ford stays far from the junkyard, instead parading its battle scars around a small Oregon town; even when rain-drenched, the cathedral-like feel of a forest amphitheater inspires contemplation; a water-logged coconut husk makes its way to shore)

6 Responses

  1. “Most people see change as about loss, not gain.”

    Wow. That’s gonna keep my brain busy for a while…

  2. Buff—

    If taking the most severe types of loss out of the equation, I think there are those who crave novelty and/or can be very analytical about pros/cons of a change; both mindsets make it easier to absorb the emotional fallout of change.

    And then there are the rest of us!

    Would love to hear your/additional thoughts on the topic….

  3. Sorry I’m so late – these photos are amazing! The second one could be the parts of a giants broken watch. I’ve always thrived on change – and been bored stiff by routine. That means I’ve had many different jobs, tried many educations and only finished one – so far! Maybe that’s taking it too far – welcoming change? Anyway, I love learning new things and meeting new people (I do have old friends!) and above all: Tasting new food!

    • Hi Kaffe/Tine—

      No worries, I post so randomly it’s hard to realize there’s a new one! I’m probably somewhere in the middle of the “loves routine/loves change” continuum, but have discovered there’s a huge difference for me in productive vs nonproductive shifts. I do think the more flexible one is the better—and it sounds like you are super-adaptable. I’m envious!

  4. Lovely to hear from you again; yes, my online life has been severely disrupted this year.
    I like to think of emptiness as like white space on a page – we need it, to appreciate the other things, and not get overwhelmed at everything we’re facing.

    • Hi Pauline—

      Yes, great point; emptiness can be certainly be a great way to force reassessment and provide needed breathing room.

      I have a tendency to flip between enjoying redefined boundaries and wondering what to shove in the opened-up mental or physical space…but continue to work toward making the former my default!

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