Have a problem that you don’t know how to solve? Who are the players in the equation? How about becoming one of them? Sounds odd, I know, but go with it. Whether you’re struggling with the complex dynamics of neighbor-relations or negotiating with your insurance company, we’re always pretty much adapting the same set of rules to different scenarios. You’ve heard the mantra: keep doing what you’re doing, keep getting what you’ve got. So let’s experiment.
What if we tried to approach a problem without any assumptions? It gets a bit ridiculous at some point, I know. So fine, we can make some. The beauty of assumptions is that they shave off valuable time and allow us to quickly size up people and situations into familiar categories. That’s one of the things we’ve learned to do with our gigantic and malleable brains. But the hazard is that assumptions can prevent us from seeing the truth and reality about our world.
What do you see in this picture?
I took a poll among my family during Thanksgiving. A sad face, someone said. A forest, said someone else. Landscape. Dancers. A closet too full of clothes. One person said a four year old painted it, someone else guessed someone suffering from mental illness. It was painted by renowned abstract artist Helen Frankenthaler, one of the premiere New York expressionists of the last century.
Now what do you see when I turn it 90 degrees? Somehow the horizontal orientation of the long forms do begin to resemble parts of a physical landscape. I see the Golden Gate bridge. How about you?
What would happen if you turned a situation on its side to get a different view? Or…turned yourself sideways to alter what’s around you? I think this is what that used-to-death phrase is prompting. If we can’t see a way out of something, what can we see?
|Tales of Genji III, Helen Frankenthaler 1998|