The weekly photo challenge this week is mirror:
A while ago, Helen Chen posted a flower near some crisp white blinds and so I wanted to capture a portrait near our new white blinds (thanks for the idea Helen).
In a way, the new white blinds we put in this summer have reflected a lighter year for us this year.
For many years, we had some beautiful wooden blinds in a nice tan. It was a hard transition to white, especially because we then had to change the curtains and that
was annoying and inconvenient took time to find ones that fit the new vibe. However, our goal was achieved – and the white blinds and lighter window treatments have opened up this room in the way we had hope it would.
The flowers make me smile because they were given to be by Jenni, one of my favorite yoga teachers. She came over for dinner…. and these little gems still linger.
If you do not have time to read today, I invite you to skim photos and move on. 🙂
While on the topic of mirror, which to me this week was a reminder to reflect with accuracy, here is a Maya Angelou quote that I always like to keep in mind regarding decisions we make.
“You did the best that you knew how. Now that you know better, you’ll do better.”
Isn’t this quote filled with wisdom and grace? Isn’t this true? We do better when we know better – or at least we keep trying to….
I think sometimes we forget that we Learn as we Go and we make decisions in real-time – doing the best that we know how – or the best we can – at the time.
And some of us are high achievers in certain areas more than others – and in those areas we might grapple with outcomes and wrestle more about “what we did or did not do”- Do you know what I mean?
Some people are quite content with no regrets in most life areas, but then they have one or two personal areas that can gnaw – or bring so much mixed reflection – and maybe it brings mirroring that is skewed and oppressive.
We might hold the bar too high or we might just really have a mind-set that forgets to offer grace….
So let us not forget that we make decisions in real-time.
Let us not forget that in hindsight things tend to look clearer, but there is no way we could have seen the clarity back then (at the time). No way. Yet sometimes we judge ourselves with the clarity we have now and this robs us of essence. This can stifle.
Let me repeat Angelou’s words:
“You did the best that you knew how. Now that you know better, you’ll do better.”
Even if you still not do NOT do that much better (yet) my mother always says, “You are up until you win.”
My husband teases about “what” that means literally – ha! But my mother’s perseverance with this encouragement is that we keep trying – keep going…. keep getting up….
we pause to regroup –
to mirror and to reflect what was done and what now needs to be done –
but we are back “up” until we get it right.
And getting it right does not mean perfection or even always having the exact outcome hoped for; instead, getting it right is doing the best we can at a given time and remembering we make real-life decisions with a limited scope sometimes.
One analogy I have so far from this year has to do with a football point my husband sometimes makes when he watches football games.
But first, let me share this fun football photo of ACC football players lined up on the bench this weekend – their names combined were “Samuel L Jackson” – and Coming to America was on that same day and I grabbed this photo to pair with it.
Now do you see the little M in the back of Jackson? In the Coming to America movie, the fast food restaurant called McDowell’s is a rival to McDonald’s and while driving in Fredericksburg this weekend, I saw this huge McDonald’s Sign. Remember that at the time, I was thinking of the wpc topic of “mirror” – and the Golden Arches sometimes mirror the American culture…. Some think so – which is why some McDonald’s have been terrorist targets.
Anyhow, also on TV this week was the second episode of Season 4 of CNBC’s The Profit (here).
I am going to review the show more on my still developing “work dimensions” blog (will share the link later), but for now – I have to share a highlight from this second episode of the 4th season.
The designer of DiLascia T-shirts was working with The Profit, Marcus Lemons, on the new direction for his T-shirt business.
Marcus was reflecting on why he was there (as The profit to invest) and DiLascia was feeling a little insecure and called himself crazy.
Marcus chimed in and said “You’re not crazy, you’re creative.”
Now of course we could discuss the overlap of these two qualities, but this comment actually shows Marcus’ huge respect for the different ways that talent is expressed and for the diverse ways we are wired.
Creative talent is different in different people – and some (most) creative designers don’t have gifts in all business areas. This respectful comment, about not being crazy, but creative, reminded me of the quote about “not trying to wait for a fish to fly (or stay in flight) and not waiting for a bird to stay submerged in water.”
You see, we have different gifts and different wiring. Life will be much more enjoyable when we have the chance to celebrate what we do well – when we use natural talent to the best that we can – and to not constantly criticize weaknesses and flaws; instead, to objectively see flaws and weaker areas as a human design so that we can exhale with confidence.
We cannot be good at everything. And if society had people with all the same strengths, that would not be very effective. We need diversity. And I have said this a couple times this summer, but I believe that a flaw in the Jason Bourne movie had to do with people doing jobs they were not good at. Not all directors are good at writing, but I digress….
Okay, so now back to the analogy from football.
Many football games have these important plays that take place on the one yard line with only a few seconds left.
Coaches have to make big calls for these plays. Sometimes a risky call is made and it wins the game. Sometimes a risky call is made and it loses the game.
The times that a risky call “wins” the game, everyone says that the call was brilliant and the coach made a genius, gutsy call.
But when the call made “LOSES” the game, folks complain and wonder “what the heck was the coach thinking….” – the Monday morning quarterbacks start to say what they would have done.
Do you get it? The same gutsy call that would have been viewed as brilliant if they won, was now slammed or deemed reckless if it led to a loss.
Have you had this happen to you? I sure have.
For example, I made a few choices earlier this year that fizzled out. Nada. Feels like a little bit of a waste of time. However, if those very same choices led to bigger and better things, I would have been proud of my risk taking -yet, because I know the value of process and know that we yield to life’s unplanned outcomes – I am still proud of my risk taking – but now that I know what I know, I will make different choices moving forward.
And so as I reflect back, with my new MO in place, I realize that we all have to constantly watch how we reflect on what we do and the choices we make. We must remember to reflect with accuracy!
Let us remember Maya’s words and stand a little taller: “You did the best that you knew how. Now that you know better, you’ll do better.” Her quote is also filled with hope. You “will” do better…. give things time….
Part 3 – 5 Misc. Photos
If you are still with me, here are a few more photos I took this weekend. I was in search of a “mirror” image for the wpc and so mirror became a catalyst for some diverse captures.
A. Aggregate of signs that mirror times gone by:
B. Bike guy crossing street in Fredericksburg, VA. My smile led to a smile back.
C. I thought about using this shiny Cadillac to show the mirroring quality of a nice topcoat.
D. Didn’t make the cut – this was maybe a choice for the featured wpc mirror image.
E. Earlier years reflected in this window display. I shared a different version of this window display on my Thursday Doors post (here), but this version has a girl and another mannequin.
F. FIVE! There was this artsy little store in Fredericksburg, VA that I ran into real quick on Friday night.
As soon as I saw this table, it reminded me of the painting “I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold” (1928) by Charles Demuth (painting is now at the MET and Demuth was from Lancaster, Pennsylvania 1883–1935).
Demuth’s painting was always fun to use for an elementary art lesson when I taught art.
Demuth derived his painting title from this poem:
Among the rain
I saw the figure 5
on a red
to gong clangs
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city
oh and here is a comic for the day:
In closing, if you like photo challenges – or want to know more about some of the options –
Check out this nice post (HERE) by Marsha Ingrao of Just Write – where she has listed some fun challenges and info about them.