which direction is she spinning?
i was watching an episode of National Geographic’s, Brain Games this morning. on the show, they were explaining that the way the brain and eyes process information determines how the information is perceived. fascinating. what an amazing machine this body of mine is. complex and interesting.
the photo of the spinning woman. this is called a reversible or ambiguous image. because there is no depth cues…my brain can process the information so that i see her turning both directions. this boggles my mind. first, the creativity of the mind that created it. well done! secondly, it shows me another level of how my mind works. this mind that i have lived with all my life. the one that i have trusted not to lead me wrong. the one i reason with and so often am absolutely convinced that i have “it” right…whatever the “it” is at the time. right? don’t we argue black and blue sometimes that we did not put the keys anywhere else but on the table…they have a place and they are always in their place…except at this moment. so sure that i did not put them any where else. then, i’m doing something completely different, not even thinking about the keys and poof…there they are. i have a one second flash of the last moment those keys were in MY hands and i put them…(not there…i never put them there…why are they there?)…on the bathroom counter. now it’s coming back to me; my hands full, my weak kidneys screaming at me, and i made a mad dash for the restroom. i sat them down and forgot. ouch! problem is, i just knew that it was not me that moved them from their rightful place. UGH! i just hate eating crow…but sometimes, i get a big ole mouthful. i’m amazed. stunned. i just didn’t see it going that way. i was so sure.
Do you see a young woman or an old woman?
one of the experiments this morning demonstrated how our peripheral vision allows us to recognize movement such as someone walking up behind us or a car approaching but is not focused enough for us to pick details. a group of guys were to pick a cheerleading team for the cheerleader that was holding a huge sign with an “x” on it. it was revealed to the participants that more than 50% of the chosen teams were guys in cheerleader uniforms. i love a challenge so i was focusing my mind. telling my mind that it would not fail me and i would get this right…ummm…no, i didn’t. i picked guys for the cheerleading squad as well…even after i knew that there were guys in the line up. really?
the mouse on the table is broken.
the mouse on the table is eating cheese.
my brain attempts to find a picture of the word mouse so it kind of pauses until the end of the sentence where it can connect the concept with the picture it wants to give me so that i understand what i have read. then it zooms back to the word mouse and drops the picture so i can grab the concept.
my mind immediately took me to a conversation my husband and i had the first month i was in NZ. i asked him:
“would you light the grill for me so i can cook dinner?
he stared at me blankly…”how do i do that?”
it’s a grill. who doesn’t know how to light the grill.
a grill resided in the garage…so, he has done this before. that look, though. i couldn’t understand. he was looking at me like i just stepped off an alien ship. what in the world? i walked him out to the garage, pointed to the grill…”this…light this”. he smiled and replied, “oh, you want me to light the BBQ? I can do that”. Da…!
what i didn’t know that day was that to my NZ husband a grill is what i (an American) call a broiler. the look…it was because when i asked him to light the grill, his mind could not register the concept of lighting the stove. when i walked him out to the garage, his mind processed and the light came on…”she means the BBQ”. we have had many hilarious and not so hilarious conversations that are similar. now, when we are communicating and the other person just isn’t getting “it”, we stop and ask, “wait, what does _____ this mean to you?” whew. has helped heaps.
my brain is like a computer processing my perception of life, words, pictures, songs, people through what i call “a filter” of my personal experiences, culture and gender. it becomes my understanding and representation of all things.
in the book of Romans in the Bible, i am told to “renew” my mind. a wisdom nugget. in light of what i have shared above, that means to me, i have to bring my mind up to date. when i am making my judgements about my journey and the people in my journey, what happened yesterday and the many days before are unrelated to the situation at hand today. i might need to apply a principle or learned lesson to the situation but i can not let my “filter” rule my actions and reactions.
skilful communication is so important.
- understand the person or situation i am dealing with. differing genders, cultures, family traditions, educational backgrounds, even sibling order and personalities play important roles in how we communicate with other people and in varying situations.
- listen carefully. it is important to make sure i am hearing accurately, not forming an interpretation in my mind.
- request clarification. rather than making an immediate reaction to what has been presented, i need to feedback what i have heard and clarify that it has, in fact, been processed by my mind as it was intended. if my mind filters the information, this will help me get my mind up to date if it is wondering back to a place in my history in an incorrect way.
- be open minded. it’s alright to allow myself to accept that “i might be wrong”. i often say, “i think i’m right but i might be wrong”. this allows me the opportunity to further process the situation. allow time to validate in my mind what is accurate.
- maintain healthy boundaries. i need healthy boundaries for others and for myself. it is important for others to understand the extent to which i will go based on my value system. it just important that i have healthy boundaries for myself. using these boundaries around my value system, i can regulate and renew my own mind in order to keep me from going off on a tangent that jeopardize my well-being.
i struggled with bulimia as a young woman. i must make sure i don’t cross my healthy boundaries concerning self-image. an outfit that does not fit properly for my body type is not allowed to communicate to me that i am fat…ugly…and further. when i look into the mirror, i must understand that i have a history of looking at my body through the eyes of the bulimia. when i hear myself say, “that looks awful!”, i need to clarify the message. i must renew my mind to accept that i am at an acceptable, achievable weight. i must make sure that i focus the message being communicated through what i see in the mirror (and in my mind) is not the woman of years past. i have chosen the wrong outfit. my self-image is not under attack.
this can be applied when we feel lonely. the mind might communicate the message that we are friendless or that there is no one who cares for us.
when we make mistakes, the message might be presented that we always fail.
a tone of voice might present the feeling of being ordered around or controlled.
today is a completely new day. new lessons can be learned. decisions adjusted. changes made. new creativity experienced. our mind and how it perceives the stimuli coming it at it, needs to be weighed carefully. renewing the mind brings it update, to the moment in time where you are in your journey. understanding that things are not always as they seem gives us the freedom to take a new look, a new approach…live today to it’s fullest.
take another look…
…are you seeing what you think you see about your life.
here’s to renewed minds,