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Expand Your View

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When we think about photography, we think about the wide range of pictures we can take. We can adjust the lens of our camera to include more or less of the environment in front of us. We can zero in on a bird singing on a nearby branch or extend out to see a vast expanse of landscape.

Think about the last time you went for a walk in the mountains. As you came up a ridge, you saw before you an expansive view of beauty and diversity, from sky to mountains to deep ravines where rivers bubbled over stones and wound around the land below.

Or think of a time when you were at the beach and looked out over the vast expanse of water.

I remember walking around the upper rim of the Grand Canyon. The view from the rim was breathtaking, stretching for miles both outward and down into the canyon itself. I experienced awe at the enormity of it all.

Before we can effectively reframe our lives we need to expand our possibilities. In my article, “Reframing: A New Perspective,” I shared a story about a woman who expanded her view in order to reframe her life. She got her life back in ways she couldn’t have imagined.

Reframing helps us work with challenges that might seem overwhelming. Expanding our view gives us more ways to reframe and work with those challenges.

Yet, even with the best of examples and “how to’s”, we might feel stuck with a point of view that is narrow and limiting.

How can we expand our view?

For example, what do you see outside your window or when you go for a walk in your neighborhood? Is your view limited by houses, winding streets, trees, people walking, etc. To expand your view, you might need to walk up a hill so you can look out over the houses and trees.

Now think about your internal view.

When you try to expand your potential, is your view constrained by predetermined beliefs about yourself and the limitations you believe you have?

How can you rise above those limitations to see beyond the moment to how you can bring life to your dreams or long-forgotten passions?

As we read stories of people who started with enormous handicaps and have done extraordinary things, we wonder:

When were they able to expand their view of possibilities to begin such a lifetime work? What was the trigger for them to go beyond thinking about it as just a possibility to actually acting upon it?

I’d like to share a couple of true-life stories about individuals who took what they were handed and expanded their view of possibility. I have written about them in the past but wanted to share their stories again. That’s because there are so many stories we never hear about of brave people who step out in faith and take whatever they had and built on it.

Flying Without Wings: Personal Reflections on Loss, Disability and Healing, by Arnold BeisserIn his book, Flying Without Wings: Personal Reflections on Loss, Disability, and Healing, Arnold Beisser shares his story.

A tennis champion, Arnold had just completed medical school and was ready to become a surgeon when he developed polio. He was 24.

For three years he lived in an iron lung. While he lay there restricted from movement, he decided he needed to do something.

But what?

He began by looking around – expanding his view every day to see a little more and think about the things he saw. He refused to let his medical condition disable him.

When he was elevated from iron lung to wheelchair, even though a quadriplegic, he became a psychiatrist, an administrator, an author, and fell in love and married a woman he met while in the hospital.

He learned to expand his view enough to reframe his life from one that most people would say was over to one that allowed him to live life to the fullest.

In another, two paraplegics built a boat and sailed across the ocean. In An Ocean to Cross: Daring the Atlantic, Claiming a New Life, Liz Fordred tells the story of two people who were injured early in life and met in physical therapy.

Over time, they got married and decided to follow a dream they had. They lived in Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe). They built a large sailboat and had it trucked to the ocean, where they had it outfitted to meet their needs before taking off to cross the ocean.

Neither had sailed before and neither had “feeling” below their chest or abdominal area. They wanted to prove that just because you were handicapped it didn’t mean you couldn’t do things.

They arrived in Florida, purchased a business, raised a daughter, and continued to make that their home.

They not only expanded their view, but reframed their thinking from one of, I think I can to one that said, Yes I can.

My youngest son is an example of someone who reframed and expanded his view. Born without the muscles to hold up his head, he never let that deter him. He reframed his world to learn to walk, go to school, etc.

After college he expanded his world of possibilities to work in a highly competitive industry as a conceptual artist.  (Read his story in “Just Go to Prague!

And then there is the story about Nick Vujicic who although born without arms and legs, not only overcame but became a worldwide speaker. I share his story in “No Matter What, I Can Make It

Read more about his journey in his book, Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action,

Expand your world!

What are you missing that could enrich your life, make it more enjoyable or more satisfying?

What would give you the inspiration and encouragement you need?

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