Waiting for the train at the 11th Street Station in Philadelphia yesterday, I admired what I thought was simply colorful bricks in an abstract pattern. Certainly a more pleasant view than the usual train station wall. It was only after I took a photo and looked at the same mural on my phone did I realize that the vibrant image I had been admiring was a tree! I had stumbled upon a real life example of seeing something as a whole only when I literally looked at it through a different lens.
We are each made up of different “bricks,” different roles we play, different hats that we wear. It can become too easy to silo ourselves off into our roles and even easier for people to identify us only as the role that they know: “I am Mom from 5am-8am and 4pm-5am. I am a professional from 9am-5pm. I am a girlfriend on date night Fridays and a runner on weekend mornings and on and on. All of those competing, colorful bricks of our lives can seem like chaos. Sometimes we need to soften our gaze in order to absorb the totality of the picture in front of us and within us. Remember to see yourself as the whole beautiful tree in the mural and not only the individual, colorful bricks that makes it up.