Is it Just a String?

My daughter, Katie, made a comment a while ago which stayed with me. We were driving in the car and our discussion involved the way that people see things differently. As we drove, the talking faded away, and she was quiet. I figured the conversation was over, but a moment later she said, “Mommy, it’s just like a string.” Trying to follow her train of thought, I asked, “What’s like a string?’

She said, “The way people look at things. It’s like a string. Some people pick up a piece of string and see only string. They think it’s worthless. But, other people pick up the string and see something else. They see something useful that can tie things together, or that they can make something with. They use their imagination or tie it around their finger to remind them about something they have to do.”

I visualized that image while she finished her thought. “Some people see a string as being nothing, but other people see the same string as being something.”

Her ability to take an abstract idea and turn it into such a simple visualization amazed me. She summarized the conversation perfectly. The discussion stayed with me because she was absolutely right. Our perception of the same event, or the same conversation, or the same moment varies from person to person. One person interprets it one way and someone else sees the same thing so differently.

Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. It seems to me that he was a man who saw the ‘string’ as being something special. In fact, he gave his life fighting to change the perceptions of all the people who saw it as worthless. He was able to look past the social perceptions of the day and see something better. His fight against the tide of discrimination and prejudice took place in order to change what people had accepted as okay.

As we remember his work today, let us remember that we, too, have the ability to see that ‘string’ differently. There are numerous opportunities to see our glass as being half full instead of half empty. For every struggle, there is a lesson to be learned. For every trial, there are successes to be won. For every moment of sadness, there are hours of happiness to follow.

I hope you will consider this as you move through your week. Try and find moments when you can see something more than what appears before you. If you do, you might be surprised by what you learn.

Create a beautiful week!
Love, Kelli

Mad Gab

One of the games that Santa left under our tree this year was Mad Gab. Perhaps he was generous and left it for you as well. It’s a fun game, and my family and I had many laughs as we played it over the holiday.

The game is played by reading the nonsense words on the card, listening to the sounds you are reading, and coming up with the phrase that it represents. For example, on one card, the words read “Dish Harp Her Rim Edge.” As you say those words phonetically, listen to the sounds you are saying and come up with the phrase that it sounds like. The answer is “The Sharper Image.”

The interesting thing about the game is that it forced me, a visual learner, to have to close my eyes and listen to what was being said. Rather than use my eyes to read, I was forced to use my ears to hear. It was a fun challenge, but it made me think about how we rely on our senses, and that we are not tuned into them nearly enough.

Psychologists agree that there are basically 3 learning styles – visual learners, auditory learners and kinesthetic learners. Visual learners make up approximately 65% of the population. Visual learners primarily collect information with their eyes. They prefer images, media, graphics, illustrations and charts. They tend to remember details in picture form.

Auditory learners make up about 30% of our population. Auditory learners primarily collect information with their ears. They learn by hearing sounds and often repeat things over and over out loud or silently, in order to remember them.

About 5% of the population are kinesthetic learners. These people learn through touch and movement. They learn by doing something, practicing it and through the physical interaction that requires.

As you read these descriptions, which one seems to fit you the best? Some people use more than one style, and some are fortunate enough to use all three. However, most of us primarily use one learning style.

The game made me recall how strongly visual I am. Hearing the sounds was difficult for me, and I had to close my eyes in order to figure out the phrases. It left me wondering what I have been missing when I rely mainly on my eyes. What haven’t I heard or tasted because I was only ‘seeing’? I realized that I need to challenge myself to use the other senses. I need to reach out and touch, as well as close my eyes and hear. I need to pay more attention to tastes and stop and smell more frequently.

What about you? When was the last time you really tasted a food rather than just swallowing it? What was the last scent you smelled or the last noise you heard? Did you notice any of those things, or did they just pass you by?

This week, I am challenging you to use your senses. Pay more attention to the world around you by focusing on all five of them. During the week, stop from time to time and smell. Close your eyes and hear. Eat slowly so you can enjoy the taste of the food on your tongue. Touch something and pay attention to how it feels. Or look at something more closely to see what you might have passed by before. By stepping outside of your norm, you might discover something you hadn’t known before.

Enjoy your week – fully!
Love, Kelli

*Statistics gathered from http://www.ldpride.net/learningstyles.MI.htm