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Shifting Perspective

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

by Nancy Bragg

My future is shining and bright, enticing me forward.

With a glance over my shoulder, I frown back at my past.

My emotionally charged losses, an ever present backdrop,

holding me back from my present and my future.

From my embodied eyes in the sky, I view. . .

each past loss as disastrous—disrupting my status quo,

I was grieving what was missing, my feelings out of control.

From my distant view, I observe. . .

each loss blew open my security fence, erected to protect my life.

Losses created openings, ways through my fence, to life beyond loss.

As I review my life, I notice. . .

my past losses gave me space to

pause, regroup, and notice possibilities.

  • Loss of classroom teaching enabled me to pursue my passion, working with gifted students.

  • Loss of parenting responsibilities freed me to move cross country, becoming who I am.

  • Loss of my mother offered me emptiness, inviting connection with the Divine.

From my broadened perspective, I see. . .

the ripe fruits of my loss experiences.

Painful turning points, steered me towards unforeseen destinations,

benefitting me in unimaginable ways.

No longer do I remember past losses, as absence of “life as I knew it.”

I can now reframe my interpretation, alter my frame of reference,

My perspective shifts to losses, as presence of “life as possibility.”

No longer held back by past perspectives,

I am free to engage in my present without baggage,

looking forward to my future with expectancy.

By June Kellum

Our past we can’t recapture.

It’s over and it’s done.

No way to recover time;

all those days are gone.

No amount of coloring

--painting with brighter hue –

can change the way things happened.

No way to make it true.

No use fretting over

--regretting – bygone days.

No need to get entangled

in memory’s purple haze.

...Or caught up in unraveling

(or, of hoping we could do)

things that didn’t go the way

that we would want them to.

The future is uncertain.

No way for us to see

the things tomorrow’s holding,

for you. . . or for me!

NOW, is what’s obtainable,

just moments here to share.

The future comes so quickly –

unseen but waiting there.

Seize the present moments,

Grab all we can contain!

Our futures are elusive.

Our past we cannot chain!

Participants’ Reflections

  • The word “perspective” feels “good in the mouth” as Welty said. We often think of making gratitude journals but we don’t think as much about being grateful for losses. In my case, I lost my brother at 59. He did not get to know his grandson, my great nephew. I have formed a bond with that nephew that is very meaningful. Sometimes we must get at a distance from our loss before we can realize the beauty that it holds in the future.

  • The writing today came from a soul collage card that I made. It is a woman looking over her shoulder holding a crystal ball.

  • There are many variations on the theme: one door closes, another opens, like a void in a building becomes an opportunity for new things. This is comforting to see that we don’t need to get fixated on a loss, we can turn things around.

  • We need reminders of this important stuff

  • My mom used to say when I was feeling a loss, such as my daughter going off to college, that “with every loss there is a freedom“. For me, there is a caveat to that: you can’t get to the freedom until you fully experience the loss. You must trust that you’ll get there and first move through the painful past.

  • The reading gives good thoughts to ponder. I like to start my day with being pensive.

  • There is a loss in my life that is still very present, it’s always there.

  • A loss is like a backdrop . But It changes over time.

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