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Mirages And Smokescreens (Or Maybe The Picture We See Is Not The Whole Story)
It is not very often when I am inspired by a newspaper article and a photo in slightly differing ways which end up dragging me to my computer to type up a blogpost on an important (to me anyway) subject which I don't feel is discussed anywhere near often enough by the correct people.

This blogpost may start by totally confusing you but I hope that by the end of it you will have experienced the point I am trying to make instead of just reading about it and forgetting it immediately.

Yesterday morning I found myself looking at what has to be my favourite photo by my favourite amateur photographer which I wanted to use for a blogpost.  After I had got permission to use it - I went through my Databank (brain) to think of a reason for using it and drew a blank.  I put it in my mental folder marked "Interesting possibilites" and got on with my day.

Fast forward a few hours and I had found a possible use for it which - to be honest - I was wary of exploring for several reasons.  The biggest reason being the use I had found for it.

Allow me to explain.

I found myself reading an article on the Guardian website by Ruby Wax (www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/20/queen-for-day-ruby-wax-children-sanity-exams-emotions) about how she would teach children that qualifications are not the "be all and end all" of school life - Mental Health is important too.

The reason I was wary of typing a blogpost connecting the two will probably become clear as you read this.  I slept on my decision and felt I had no way out of typing this.

Here goes;

Have a look at the photo below and see if you can see what I can see in it.  (My thanks to Derek Lee for allowing me to use it on here.)

I know you are probably going to tell me it has got water, narrowboats, and a building in it, as well as other visible things - and I am not going to argue with you because you are obviously correct (I know my sight is bad but I can still see the blazingly obvious).  If you know me you will know I love boats and water.

However, there is something else in the photo which is the reason I used it for this blogpost.  In order to find it you will have to stop looking at the photo with your eyes and start seeing it with your mind.

I could go all "Art Historian" on you and ask you why the photographer chose that particular scene as well as why he decided to make the water such an unusual shade of blue.  (However, I hate those kind of "Art Historians" who impose their way of looking at paintings on you - almost as much as I hate those wine tasters who are absolutely convinced that they can taste things like boot polish, or chocolate, in a glass of what is technically fermented grape juice,  I am sorry but their levels of pretentiousness just make me wish to seriously injure them.)

I hope Derek doesn't mind but I am going to try a bit of "Ink-style" psychology to help you.  There is a question in that photo which I find people don't ask nearly enough.  Or rather - they sometimes ask the correct question but use the wrong translation of it.

Use your eyes to look at the narrowboats and the water.  Now use your mind to see the narrowboats and the water - savour the connection between them.

Your eyes could make you wonder why the narrowboats are moored in that particular place.  However, my mind asked the question of "How?" - as in "How did the narrowboats get there in the first place?" along with "How are the narrowboats managing not to sink to the bottom of the river or canal???"

Maybe if we stopped asking each other "why" something is happening - and started asking "how" people are going to be given the skills to cope with whatever is happening to them in a way they find suitable for them - we could start building a society where we understand each other and accept the differences between us???

A funny thing happened in this morning's service at my church.  We had a preacher from a charity called "Torch Trust" which helps blind, Partially Sighted, and people who are losing their sight.  As part of the children's talk he produced a white stick and asked the children what it might be used for and who might use it.  One child (who has never seen me with a white stick) piped up "Old people would use it". (My thought on that idea??? Thanks a lot - 41 may be old to you but I am not ready for my pension yet")

So - whilst I agree with what Ms Wax said about teaching children to look after their mental health and not just focus on grades all the time - I would go one step further and teach them to ask "how" we can help people as well as "why" we should do it.

There is a saying about not believing your eyes - after all, your eyes can trick you into seeing things which aren't really there (and maybe problems or solutions which dont really exist.

However, seeing with your mind and being willing to ask the right questions will help you see the world more clearly - even when your eyesight is as bad as mine!!!

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