Our society has the expression, “…but I don’t do windows.” Maybe it is my counter-cultural nature, or a droll sense of humor, that first started me on this path that says to the contrary, “I believe in doing windows.” My experience now has me doggedly pursuing this phrase, in spite of societal pressures that point elsewhere. Using this as a slogan, I can remind myself of a more optimistic way to approach life.
As I started wearing glasses at age seven, different views depending on the lenses, became apparent to me early on. Indeed, my myopia that created this correction, is synonymous with poor planning. I also noticed that we spoke of a rosy view, or clouded expectations, or shady dealings.
I find that as I point out previously unnoticed delights to people, their outlook changes. I see this exercise akin to washing that person’s windows. The side benefit is that I can also learn another way to perceive the world, as the other person shares new learnings.
Other’s veiled views seem more easy to perceive than my own. Sometimes it seems obvious that another has a “wrong” world view. By analyzing why those quirks have caught my attention, I get tips on my own need for washing.
I observe that soiled windows do not let a person’s inside light shine out either. When others cannot detect one’s inner treasure, they are liable to form the wrong impression. Helping others to learn that they have their own inner gifts gives me additional motivation to keep washing. I also find that choosing to find my own unwashed vistas helps me to be less critical of another’s perceived faults.
I like Luria’s mystical image that we all are vessels of a divine spark. If I can help another’s windows to broadcast that light, we all can live in less darkness. I also can help the process by cleaning my windows, so that my companions can use my light to clear their view.
Approaching others’ possible windows, as if they are living inside a faceted jewel, whose possible views are a bit clouded, helps me respond differently. If I think a criticism of me is designed to hurt, rather than a skewed reading of the world, I react less generously. The more I give a person the benefit of a doubt that their sight is obscured, can I minimize the friction of everyday living.
The sparkling crystal image is another reminder for me to approach others with a generous spirit. By dismissing another too early, I will probably miss gems of their wisdom or delights that their encounter will lead me to discover. I can also work to show that another of their facets is not as clouded as some.
The jewels’ durability also remind me that the behaviors I cite, are hard. Changing myself will be a long term project, similar to slowly polishing the gem to its full luster.
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