For the week of September 24, 2018

The Observer’s Perch

As a life long reactionary, I have struggled with the observer’s perch. Oh, I
understood what it is, and I can wholeheartedly accept its necessary
importance. But I have also long believed that my reaction was important.
I bowed up in indignation, I cried, I yelled, I protested, and I resisted.
And most of the time, I accomplished very little other than an upset
stomach and sleepless nights.

This morning, a friend on FB posted something ugly and mean. My
reaction was instantaneous. Heat flowed through me, my temper flared. I
must make this right, I thought!! I am going to tell her how wrong she is!! I
came up with several pithy responses to her very obvious (to me)
And then I stopped. I breathed for a moment. And I remembered the
observer’s perch. I breathed a while longer, letting my thoughts percolate
and my breathing return to its normal relaxed rate.
Something amazing came to me. I saw how this person is a teacher for
me. She showed me clearly how quickly and emphatically I respond to
stimuli. She gave me the opportunity to step back and reconsider my
response to her words. She gave me the opportunity to perceive front and
center the wild duality that we are living in currently, and the opportunity to
choose my place within it. She showed me that, sometimes, the act of
resisting is just simply resistance.
I have long struggled with the concept of observer’s perch vs denial.
Today it all became crystal clear. Denial is a repudiation of responsibility,
often times to yourself. You might sacrifice everything for the rightness of
the cause, or simply just the right to be, well, right. The observer’s perch
allows choice and considered response. It allows me choose what, if
anything, to do about the words this woman shared. And it allows me
room for love in that decision. And, as an added and unexpected bonus, I
felt no need to judge myself for my initial reaction.
As is so often the way, now that I understand the clear distinction between
the two, and how to embrace the observer’s perch, I know I will now have
many opportunities to make sure that I really “got it”. I can welcome those
now and commit to recognizing them in the moment. I can commit to
making room for love when I am triggered. I can commit to the open door
that signifies this incredible, miraculous new world we are living in, and be
willing to embrace it whole heartedly. And finally, I can add a whole new
element of gratitude to my life.
The view from the observer’s perch is magnificent...
(**Many thanks to Stephanie (every day) and to pegrace (today) for
helping me get to this place. We are surrounded by teachers, and I am
very grateful.)

***This guidance column was written by Jan Finley for It may be shared freely, but only when the author’s name and website are included.