08 March 2010

Middle Perspective

So, I've been thinking about perspective lately.

It's funny how our experiences shape how we think and react to things. I've had a unique "problem" in that I've travelled short term (maximum of several months in one place) that I don't think very far out in terms of time. People invite me to their weddings and I tell them that I won't know until closer to time if I'll even be in the country. And while that's a fun problem to have--I'm not complaining, because I love it--I've noticed recently how much it affects my approach to life.


**Photo by Kristen Torres-Toro 2009**

It's not that I shy away from relationships or that I'm afraid of committment. I don't cling too much either. But when I make a friendship, it's for life. I don't have time to just be a surface friend. If you want to go deep and be in community with me, I'm all in. Because I know all too well the time will end. The trip will close, we'll go to opposite sides of the globe, and the physical sharing of our lives will be reduced to email, cell phones, and skype. Do you see the problem here?

So, six weeks ago I moved to a new place. But I'm still thinking short term. I don't know how to think long term. Which means I'm tempted to rush, rush, rush, stress, stress, stress, and pack as much in as I can because the trip will end... only it's not a trip. This is life. And life at a frenetic pace will only lead to me needing medication. So I'm working on adopting a long term perspective. Like someone accustomed to only being able to see up close, this is taking some time! I've become my own broken record. Everytime I automatically react to something I have to suppress that knee-jerk action of immediacy and alarm, of savoring every last second of life because you don't know when you'll get another chance here again. And while I'm all about enjoying life, it's the focus that's off... like I'm near-sighted with life (I always get near-sighted and far-sighted confused).

I think it's easy for us to get that way with writing too. At least, I do. I don't know what's coming in the future. I do hope to be published in book form. I can only imagine the demands on me then, the new things I have to learn, do, and add to my schedule. A few weeks ago I was so overwhelmed with the combination of that and the place I'm in now I couldn't move or write. Not a fun experience. Now I'm shrugging it off because when the time comes for me, I'll be able to figure it all out. Somehow. But I can't miss this time I'm in now by looking too far in the future--and I can't focus so much on life right now that I'm blind to what's coming. I need a middle perspective, kind of like the picture above.

Sometimes even the short term demands seem like too much. Can I just say how proud I am of the people who've recently cried "Sabbatical!" and gone dark? Good for them! I'll follow them when they get back... miss them while they are gone... and hope they are able to focus on what they need to. Maybe my day will come when I need to throw up my hands and focus on one thing at a time writing-wise. I hope I have the guts to do it, if the time ever comes.

It's all about perspective.

See y'all Wednesday!

31 comments:

  1. Good post Kristen. I hope you find that middle ground and the right focus. :-) I hope I find it too!

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  2. First, beautiful picture!!!

    Second, I can see why you would struggle thinking long-term...with the work you do. But you're are so right, this is life, not a trip. That's a great reminder to us all.

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  3. Perspective is a funny thing and I pray you can find your focus and relax in the here and now. :)

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  4. Yes, it is interesting how our experiences shape us. I hope and pray you find the writing focus you want to have. :)

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  5. Rest...relaxation...these are two things I've been thinking a lot about. My husband and I split the weekend mornings waking up and even on my day to sleep in...I can't.

    Hmmm. Seems I need to figure out a way to slow down and RELAX.
    ~ Wendy

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  6. I like the idea of finding a "middle" place in our writing journey. We can't forget the destination, but we also need to enjoy each step of the journey too.

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  7. Great point, Kristen. It's easy to get overwhelmed if we look at the big picture. So much better to follow Anne Lamott's advice and write "Bird by Bird."

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  8. Can't change the past. Can't foresee the future. All we have is the now. My best wishes in finding your balance. : )

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  9. Kristin, aren't we ALWAYS searching for perspective? (Sure you've heard the elephant in the house story) Sometimes we focus so much on the hairy eyeball that we don't see the immense beast!!!

    Blessings, dear one.
    Patti

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  10. So, right. We all need to take the middle perspective! Enjoy life in the stage we are at.

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  11. Yes, yes, yes. We all struggle with this issue. I often have to ask myself, "Why are you rushing so? What's the hurry?" It comes down to fear.

    I'm afraid if I don't get my ms finished by a certain date, my agent won't be able to sell it; if I don't get my bed made before I leave for work, I'll feel like a slob; if I don't get in X amount of words written per day, I'll feel lazy.

    These are lies from Satan, the enemy of our souls.

    God says, "Believe, rest, work, rest, believe, trust, work, rest." I cannot imagine Jesus rushing, yelling at the disciples to hurry.

    Is our society crazy or what?

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  12. There are very few middle places for me in most things, human nature is to swing to one extreme or the other.

    It is part of my daily prayer to trust God where ever I am. Like Sherrinda shared- enjoying the here and now.

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  13. I've just come back from a two-week break from blogging, and I have to say that it was the best thing for me. I accomplished a lot, and I feel like I'm back on top of things both personally and professionally. I agree with you about finding a middle place. It's important.

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  14. This is beautiful! The truth is, I think a lot of people do this because they are searching for something and don't know what it is (it's GOD!) So, they live in the way you are speaking.
    However, you have such a firm grasp on this and your faith, and God will guide you! This may be a great sturggle to write about or give a character!

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  15. I can be like this too in some ways. The older I get, though, the more perspective I've gained. Thankfully, God has been super patient with me:)
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  16. Wonderful post, Kristen. It sounds like we are very much alike :) I have a problem both in real life and in writing where I take things much too seriously. If I'm in something, I'm in 100% and I can't give anything less than that. But I feel like this perspective is going to drive me crazy and I also need some sort of middle ground. You worded it so well!

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  17. Hi Kristen -

    What a great post! I'm one of those people, who plan--a lot. (Of course, this doesn't apply to plotting my novels. LOL!)

    When my husband got sick, everything changed in a moment. I saw the need to live each day because we have no guarantees there'll be a tomorrow.

    Today, I want to honor my Heavenly Father, love my family, treasure my friends, and put my hands to the tasks He's given me.

    Perspective--it's a good thing.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  18. I hope you find the rhythm that works for you. I tried to retreat. That didn't work. I tried to focus on my novel. That didn't work. I had lunch with my artist friend. She helped me gain perspective. I've rechanneled my energy towards a drama. I felt relief and a rush of creativity.
    Blessings!
    Mary

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  19. What an interesting, thoughtful post! I've been there before... I used to move at least once a year, and so my mindset was solidly in the moment.

    Seven years ago I moved here and said, "This is it. I need some roots." It's taken a while to start seeing a vision further than a few months down the road, but I'm getting there.

    And I'm learning to hold that future very lightly, and trust God to work out the details. We all have seasons in our lives. When you need that perspective, God will give it to you.

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  20. It is all about balance and being present, isn't it? This is a lovely reminder of that and the power of perspective - how changing our filters even a little bit can change our whole life experience.

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  21. Great post.
    Perspective is important. Balance is the best approach. I'll confess, though, that when I went from writer to published author I almost when under when all the new responsibilities hit me. I never saw most of them coming. So now I'm trying to look at the pictures as a whole. Some parts of the job might not be as easy for me, but it's up to me to decide to enjoy it all!
    Good luck with your new perspective! :D

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  22. Fabulous post, as always, Kristen. I have an award for you at my blog, darling! :-)

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  23. this is an amazing post. all I can say is wow. YOu inspire me sooo much...your honesty and openness. Sarah

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  24. somehow I had missed those pics you posted before this post. awesome and they're really are pink dolphins!!!☺

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  25. I'm with you! I need to buckle down and hone in one one project to market. It doesn't mean I can't write another WIP just know that I have to focus on selling the first one. ;)

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  26. I'm a total opposite - too future focused. I forget to stop and smell the roses a lot. (Oops.) Good post! :)

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  27. Hi Kristin! This post is wonderful, thought-provoking and insightful. I used to say I lived my life in two-year increments. For over a decade, and through little planning of my own (I thought), I moved every two years. Big moves. Across the country (NY to CA, CA to Wash. D.C.) and across oceans (D.C. to CAR, Africa, and CAR, Africa to France). During the four and a half years I lived in France, I moved seven times. So I can SOOOoooo relate to what you say here.

    Life settled down for me when hubby and I had children. I should say, once the kids were old enough to go to school, we adopted a less nomadic lifestyle. It's been good, putting down roots and living life in the "long term." But, wanderlust is in our bones. We live for vacations when we can roam. And we haven't found our final destination, yet!

    Sorry for the book-post! I've been meaning to write you. I bought Susie Magazine and read your story!! It was great!!!!!

    I liked how authentically your painted the portrait of your teen characters, especially in the opening scene. The story's message was provacative and relevant. I felt good by the time I reached the end, and I'm sure your YA readership felt the same way to. You nailed it, bravo!!

    Have a fab day!

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  28. It is hard to commit to one thing. So many things pull us in different directions. I have a hard time being a fair weather friend too. I have many acquaintances, but few really good friends. The ones I do have are my friends for life. We can go months even years without seeing each other, but when we meet again, it's like we were never apart. I feel that way about writing. I can go a long time without, but when my pen touches the page I feel as if I've come home.

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  29. This is amazing! I have been having a similar struggle. I have been fretting about getting published but realized my kiddos are small and I should enjoy them as much as possible. I am trying to take everything at a slower pace. This isn't easy for me but well worth it!

    Great post! I can really relate!!!

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  30. Hey, Friends!

    I so enjoyed reading about your perspectives!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  31. So very true, my friend. It's hard to take a slow and steady pace, even when there is no real reason to rush. I think we're conditioned as a society to hurry through. Even though your perspective in short term has been conditioned by short term trips, I know with me, it seems that in the "job" world, everything has to be done NOW so when I get home and work on my projects, I feel so rushed to do them and feel the stress to complete them that I won't even start because I know I can't complete them that evening. Crazy.

    Here's to balance,
    Jen

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