“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all
should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build
confidence in the creative spirit.”
― Ansel Adams (landscape photographer and environmentalist)
I discovered this quote recently when I was looking for quotes on perspective. Why was I interested in perspective? I own a deck of tarot-like cards that is based on the earth and nature. When I feel the need I will shuffle the deck and pick a card, sometimes to answer a question and other times to see what comes up randomly. Twice in the last week when I chose to pick a card the Milky Way-Perspective card came up. And upon reflection of my weekend the concept of perspective took on a brilliance that I had to expound upon.
My brother bought a house several years ago that contained many gardens gone amok. The house had not been lived in for a while before he bought it and the weeds had invaded the gardens, bushes were overgrown, and plants had spread all over and the result was a lot of areas in need of attention. He was dutifully weeding one of these areas when we visited over the weekend. It looked like a never ending project of futility, and those around him (myself included) were asking him why he didn’t just bulldoze the whole thing and start fresh? He patiently listened to each one of us make the remark at different intervals as he showed us the yard and shared his plans for moving plants, transplanting bushes and clearing areas. We shook our heads at the amount of time and effort his plans would take, and knew that with his crazy work/travel schedule and outside commitments this would probably not get done in any of our lifetimes. He said in the end, “It is a labor of love”.
Later at dinner I was discussing meditation and my brother piped up, “That’s what I do when I garden”. And the whole notion of perspective shifted for me. We were all focusing on the end product, and his focus was on the journey. He looked at the landscape and saw hours of meditation where we saw weeds and overgrowth. He chose inner harmony over outer appearance. He dreamed big and we thought small. I wonderedwhat if we all dreamed that big and enjoyed the journey as opposed to the results? In our immediate gratification world what would happen if that shift in perspective spread?