“Sometimes it’s necessary to step back to get the whole, beautiful picture.”
It was Sunday when I had an encounter with this phrase, while reading through the pages of a Breathe magazine and chilling on the lawn of a Badi (semi-public areas for swimming by the lake) in Zürich. I stopped for a minute, lifted my head and just watched the people around me. How they moved, what they were doing, how they looked, how they connected to each other. I always find it interesting to go out into the world, to just sit somewhere and do some people watching. My thoughts went a little further.
I find it interesting that we have the power to create our context, our reality - and somehow we still believe we don’t have the power to do so. That things just are the way they are. That things just happen - for a reason, or not. In that little glimpse of a moment, I once again realised, how we (all the people in the Badi) were all in the same place, but having totally different experiences. And then I asked myself, what could I do, right now, to change my own perspective inside this context?
You know, one of the best ways to start thinking differently is to start acting differently. To change our perspective and look at things from a different point of view gives us the capacity to see things from a different angle, to perceive connections that weren’t visible before, to live life in a totally different way. We start expanding our mind and opening space for new possibilities and experiences. We are not stuck in a moment in time and space. We are not prisoners of our routines or lifestyles.
I decided to live (from) my art when I realized I needed more movement. A more lively dynamic. Electrifying experiences. Being in different places, meeting new people, creating something unique every day. I discovered that this nourishes my soul. And my inspiration. When I live the same routine every day, I get bored. The nights become more agitated. The mind gets restless. And then I realize it's time to change my perspective again. In the beginning I thought I had to do big shifts to actually feel the change, but with time I realized that the little shifts in a day, sometimes have even a bigger power.
And, while still watching the people around me at the Badi I created a list of the things I apply on my daily basis and that might inspire you to shift your perspectives inside your context:
When starting one of my workshops I always like to make a perspective exercise, to start opening the participants minds to new possibilities. I ask the humans to choose a place in the room, position themselves and write down whatever they perceive from that perspective. Things, feelings, colors. There are no rules. After a few minutes I ask them to sit somewhere else and do the same exercise again. If the space I am giving the workshop in allows me to change rooms, I do so - repeating the exercise once more. With time I learned that the more times I repeat the exercise, the more people start being more present. The rational brain starts turning of, and they start perceiving details that they weren't before. Or would never do if they were just passing by. The brain opens up for other dimensions, and thus, possibilities.
I apply this concept to my daily life and had this theory in my mind, but it was only by actually applying this exercise during the workshops, that I realized how it is something of extreme importance for us humans. In your own home or office life, do you always sit on the same chair to have a meal? Do you always watch a movie from the same corner in the sofa? Try changing places, or even watching your living room from upside down (yes, I do that sometimes). Allow yourself to see other perspectives of your same daily spaces. These little shifts have the power to bring you awareness that there is more to the picture you have created in your mind.
And then be ready to:
CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE
So, you started getting to know your space through all the possible angles. Now think about the way you move through life. Do you always walk the same route to the bus station? Or car, or train? Do you always drive the same way to the office, gym or supermarket? Do you always go into the same toilet cabin in your office? Do you always eat the same breakfast? Do you always go to the same supermarket, tracing exactly the same path through all the supplies? There are so many questions regarding this one. The thing is, how are you building up your routine - regardless if you have a more structured one with office hours or a flexible one as a self-employed? Do you always move in the same way? I dare you to try something new. Change routes, eat something different for breakfast every couple of days, choose another supermarket to by your vegetables today.
I have more of a flexible and dynamic routine, and yet it is so easy to fall into the same old movements. To catch the same tram (here in Zürich), to work from home, to walk the same street to the co-working, to go to the same supermarket that is closer to my home. Just because it’s easier. Yes, it is easier, and sometimes we just don’t want to think more than we already have to - and we just allow ourselves to be taken away with that. Yes, I do that too. And all of a sudden a week has passed. And then a month. And I realize that my flexibility is more rigid than ever. It’s time to change. A few years ago it took me longer to realize I was falling into the same patterns - and I still do sometimes (and it’s ok, really) - but I also actively choose to do differently. Because I know that’s when the beauty happens. That I expand my perspectives, that these little shifts are just what I needed to solve a problem, to change a thought pattern, to learn something new or simply to exchange a smile with a beautiful stranger on the street.
OWN YOUR SHIT (sorry for the s* word)
All these movements might feel strange or uncomfortable at first - they do for me too sometimes - but that’s when we need to remember that we are choosing to do that. No one is making us do that. So I just say (to myself too): get your things together and actively choose to be different. Change your own perspectives and patterns. You don’t need anyone’s approval. And while going through this thought (yes, I was still at the Badi) I realized there is one thing that I do that helps me connecting to my own intuitive process. When I feel I’m disconnected in that sense - and start overthinking “should I go this way or this way?” - yes, that’s when the process is becoming rather mechanical then intuitive. Well, when that happens, I take a few hours of my day, put on some running clothes and go out for an intuitive run. (What the hell?) Yes, I just run out of my front door. When I get to a street, I feel: “go left or right?”. When I’m a bit stuck in the mechanical choices of “what should I do?” I can feel it right away. I stop on that road and tell myself “what do you want to do?”. And then I start connecting to my heart. Go right. And I go right. Go up, down, left, straight. For how long I feel like going. To wherever I feel like going. And those are usually my longest runs, because I just turn of my rational brain, and let myself be taken away by the flow. There is no right and wrong. There is no getting tired. The body just becomes a tool for me to reconnect to my intuition. And I go back to my daily life after that - feeling more connected than ever. Owning my own s*. And the next morning I just feel what street I want to walk through on the way to a coffee place where I will work from that day. Just to change perspectives.
FROM A DISTANCE
“Sometimes it’s necessary to step back to get the whole, beautiful picture.”
That phrase, stayed with me a bit longer.
While we live our own lives, we build these little patterns and prisons around ourselves without even acknowledging them. Beliefs, habits, comments, noises. Theres is so much that just becomes part of who we are - and at the same time - are not part of us at all. From time to time it’s important to just step back for a bit. Like I did this Sunday. I needed to get away from my own patterns for a bit. I was working too much, I was putting too much pressure on myself to make things work. (yes, that’s me) And recently, with the help of a Therapist, I created this nickname to get me out of my own patterns. I called it my “red button”. This Sunday I felt like pushing it. To visualize myself from up close, and then step away from everything. That’s when I begin to see new things. I see the details in a new way. New connections. Things start feeling different. I regain my energy, I build up my courage. I feel more creative. I can see a clear path in front of me. Even if it feels uncomfortable and unknown, I have the power to change my perspectives. To open my mind to a whole new world and create my own reality.
And that’s when I saw the beautiful picture around me - and not just that - that’s when I realized I am part of the beautiful picture. While I was watching strangers - I was being watched too.
Click here, if you'd like to read this article in Portuguese.
The pictures on this article were taken by Maja Juzwiak.
A daily routine of constant construction, feeding from an almost inexhaustible source of creation. Since then I have been venturing into projects of different sizes, scopes and impact, using creativity as the main tool.
I’m sorry to say that an idea is worth nothing, until you grab it by its tale - or head - and start designing it. You can write it down, you can draw, you can call a friend, you can start working on the connections between your idea and the actual development of that idea.
Our environment encourages conformity and control - two concepts I perceive as prisons. We become afraid of letting ourselves loose. The fear that kills our freedom of expression and creativity, once we start telling ourselves “I can’t” “I don’t dare” “what will people think of me?” I am breaking free of this.