Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 30. Context Counts

Cooper being himself

I learn a lot by watching my cats. They go about their day, doing what cats do; eating, napping, playing, and nuzzling with us. Perfect examples, in my opinion, of living in the moment. They're not concerned with tomorrow or what happened yesterday. It seems like an almost carefree life. Sometimes I wish I were a cat.

We get preoccupied mulling over every possible topic. The search for meaning seems never ending. We look for it in everything from works of art to the behavior and interactions with others.
Painting Experiment this morning

Friends used to come to me asking what I thought so-and-so meant by such-and-such a comment. This always puzzled me. How on earth would I know what that person's intention was in saying what they said? I found that a lot of people spend a good deal of their day trying to figure out the meaning in whatever happened to cross their path.

When my kids would ask me the meaning of some new word they'd just seen, I suggested they look at the context for clues. That usually did the trick. If it didn't, I'd make up a new sentence using the word and they'd take it from there.

Context matters.

What appears one way, can become a whole new animal with a change in context.
Painting experiment this context

I found myself in a situation recently. There I was, caught up in something and too worked up to see a way out. A short while later, with a bit of distance, I was able to pull back and view it, like a movie, in miniature. There I was, once again,  looking for meaning. This time, it wasn't nearly as awful as I'd first believed. Creating a distance and putting it into a different context made it easier for me to see what it was really about.

Today, consider the context of whatever you encounter. It might change the way you see it.


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