Tag Archives: perspective

Are You Experienced?


“Let me tell you, if you ever do an interview with the XX Times Sunday Magazine Features Editor, watch yourself–what you say.  They will take your words and twist them.

“There’s a little tip for you.”

The visiting artist I am transporting has offered me this kindness, as we near the close of our two-hour drive together. Yet, for most of our trip, the main topic of conversation has been child-rearing.

The artist is a woman in her early forties. She has experienced a sudden and tremendous commercial success in the art world, while attempting to manage with a toddler at home.  I am just thirty and a student, with a child who is a few years older than this woman’s daughter.

Thus, despite the difference in our linear ages and the enormous gap in our professional situations, it is I, who has been listening compassionately, while I dutifully attempt to hand out sage advice on parenting an active toddler.

The advice-ffirmations go something like this. “Yes, taking an adult, personal time-out in the bathroom is a perfectly sound idea…to regain composure before re-approaching your toddler.  That way no one gets hurt.”

Some time, during our two-hour tenure in the car, I realize we–as individuals–actually enjoy a variety of ages, stages and experience.

There is the most obvious age, which is linear.  It may be calculated mathematically:  current year minus birth year equals your age.

Then, we have our “physical-shape” age.  We would need a trip to a medical specialist to check the health of our telomeres to determine where we sit on this age scale.

On the drive, the situation with the artist, where a “younger” parent is able to give advice to an “older” parent because the child/ren of the younger parent is/are actually older than the child/ren of the older parent, comes to light.

Also, there is the issue of experiential age, which has a variety of facets (personal, professional, educational,  etc.). Have you been around the block? Once? Twice? Thrice? Jimi Hendrix comes to mind.

And, we cannot fail to mention the impact that an upbeat, sunny disposition has on how old we feel or appear to be to others.

Finally, there is the concept of The Old Soul, where linear age and telomeres account for very little, and what really matters is how a soul brings its wisdom lessons to bear on the situations and circumstances of a given moment in Time.

Pause. Consider. Contemplate. Are you experienced?

The question, “How old are you?” may deserve a radically different answer than your would-be, engraved-in-granite linear age. The next time that question arises, you may find yourself wanting to give an answer reflecting the notion you carry of yourself deep within your heart.


Walking into one of my out-of-home, work spaces, I see that a professional acquaintance is on-duty.  Upon seeing me, he immediately affects a deep frown and drops his shoulders in defeat.

“What is going on?” I ask, as I unpack my things at a table and pull out a chair.


We have had a couple of informal conversations, where we learned we had both spent time at geographic points far west of here.

“I so don’t want to be here today,” he says, gesturing around the almost empty space.  “The basement thing is getting to me.”

“You are going to have to turn that around, if you want to find any joy here,” I respond sympathetically.  “Look, you have windows on two out of four sides of this space.  And they are full size. The windows face both west and south.  I know it is raining today; but, on sunny days, you get the late afternoon sun.

“You are are warm and dry and safe,” I continue.  “Plus, you have the privilege of entering your own private kiva everytime you come to work. This is a space of potential grounding and centering.  How many people get to do that at work?”

He pauses to consider the perspective I offer him.  “Yes, thank you for that–a kiva.”

I watch as his shoulders lift and this new perspective takes root in his consciousness, helping him reframe his perspective.

Is Your Pain So Great?

Sitting across from the banker, he chats easily with me while taking down some new contact information.  The subject of dogs comes up.

We talk about dog adoption as a major commitment.  Living with a dog is like having a perennially inquisitive child who is a lot of fun–an instant party really–and who is also capable of some serious mischief (read: potential object destruction).

“I had a friend who lost a dog recently,” the banker continues. “She’d had the dog for fifteen years and, after the dog’s passing, vowed she would never get another dog because the pain of losing the first was too great.”  The banker pauses here looking to me for a response.

I cannot think of anything appropriate to say, so I refrain from speaking.

“Is that your experience?”  he asks me more directly.  The subject of our recently losing a dog had come up.


“No…,” I work on collecting my thoughts.  “I think of relationships in terms of refuge.  Consider how many dogs one person is capable of granting refuge to in the context of one human lifetime.  Four?  Five?  Or more, if the person has the means, time and space.  Think about how many animals we could save from being euthanized.”

“Yes, I hadn’t thought of it that way,” he responds with new consideration.

With our business concluded, I move out of his office, through the building and into the sunshine, thinking to myself, “People is your attatchment to your pain so great that you could not consider giving a fellow creature in need a place of refuge?”  The walk home is long and sweet–though I would prefer to be sharing it with a four-legged friend.

*Notes on dog adoption.  Animal adoption is a major commitment.  On the plus side, dogs can grant us incredible companionship, devotion, loyalty and comfort with the added bonus of our having an “in-home personal trainer” in the form of a consistent walking companion.  On the serious-considerations side, dogs present a major time and training commitment, with expenses for appropriate care, food, kenneling, extra space requirements, as well as cleaning obligations.