Life's Cages - Your Perspective
What we see greatly depends on how we look at it. Our perspective only changes when we consciously work to free our minds from the cage we’ve been held captive in. The cage which sometimes we create for ourselves but for others, life deals us cages without our choosing.
I wrote this blog post because something happened this week at breakfast that literally brought me to tears. I was having breakfast at one of my favorite breakfast spots, Zinc Cafe & Market, in Laguna Beach, sitting inside as it was a chilly morning. With iPhone in hand, I browsed my Flipboard articles soaking in new knowledge. My tasty burrito bowl & almond milk latte steamy & waiting to be devoured. I looked up to notice a woman (later found out her name was Blythe) sitting at the table in front of me by the windows. She was waiting on someone but she too was on her phone.
My head perked when I heard his words, "I'm here to see the owner. I'm looking for work." The man was dressed in a bright multi-colored sweater, appearing to have come from South of the border. A leather jacket, hat + sombrero over the hat, and jeans completed the look. I noticed the bags at his feet holding, what I knew, were all of his life's belongings. He was homeless. As the woman at the counter went in the back to hail the manager, the man sat down peacefully in the chair at the front. He folded his hands in his lap and only looked up a few times, due to the close quarters and phone consumed crowd in front of him. But I took notice of him....of his energy...and so did Blythe. I put my phone down and gazed straight ahead....I didn't want to stare. But his energy, his purpose for coming here this morning, his calm....I could feel it in the room. It brought me tears.
Blythe struck up a conversation about his colorful sweater and he was jubilated to discuss. He had gotten it off a bench at the bus stop, left by someone, and he was nervous to wash it in fear it would ruin or cause it to shrink. But it brought him great joy - the colors vibing well with his personality. I watched someone, who most would think has nothing, speak with such joy, zest for life, appreciation, and humility for where life was going.
As it turns out, the restaurant didn't have any immediate openings, and the man kindly said "thank you anyway" and began picking up his things. Blythe and I pulled out some cash out of our wallets - she gave it to him. The manager gave him a coffee for the road. You see, as it turns out, the man was in a program at the Friendship House to get off the streets and Zinc supports this effort and offers employment.
It wasn't about that for me. What I saw was a man who had a cage around him - what put him there I will never know - family, life experiences, drugs, misfortunes, habit - it didn't matter to me. He could have walked into a crowded Laguna Beach restaurant, knowing what he had been through... or is going through... and mumbled under his breath, shy, embarrassed, discouraged, and asked for employment. Instead, he spoke with confidence, assertiveness, and poise. He sat in the chair waiting spreading energy of happiness and hope. I felt it! This touched me. He chose to see the cage and make a change.
Here I am at times in my life, scared. Scared to speak up and use my voice. Here many of us are afraid to do something outside of our box. When we face something new or we feel down and out we crumble. Not anymore.
Choose to see the cage however you wish and spend as much time dwelling on how it got there. Then shift into self-awareness. See the situation from a new angle - are you flexible, ready to learn, accept new ideas, insight, and feedback. Are you open to love, to relentlessly pursue forward even in adversity? Do you tell yourself you can - even in your darkest moments, when the grit and grind seem too much to bear?
The right perspective makes the impossible possible. It makes the cage disappear.