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Friday, July 25, 2014

Perspective

When I was a fourth-grader in a Detroit parochial grade school, I was called ignorant in front of the whole class by a lay religion teacher. Day after day our Catholic religion lesson was comprised of simply copying the words that the teacher slathered all over the chalkboard. It was when I admitted I couldn't read her writing, especially from the angle that I was sitting at in the classroom, that she called me ignorant. Little did I know then that I had severe depth perception issues. The bottom line is that I don't see things the way other folks see them...and that's on more than the surface level...lol! 

When I was already knee-deep in my fifties a "friend" told me to just get into the car and drive. She knew I hadn't driven a car due to these same severe (disintegrating even more so with age) depth perception issues for over 15 years at that time. She made her proclamation as if this issue didn't exist or I was somehow acting weak or faking not being able to drive. The bottom line is I can no longer judge the distance a moving car is from me, whether it's in front, behind, or to the side of me. I fully realized it was too dangerous for me and all concerned to operate a moving, 4,000+ pound vehicle. I'm an independent cuss and believe me, I didn't easily accept not being able to drive anymore. But what I gained from not driving my own vehicle has been priceless. I often get to know folks who are kind enough to drive Ms. Jenny. I learned that I don't always have to be the main person in control. I also learned to accept and love who I was as an entire package deal. 

This depth perception issue has made for some odd and and even funny moments in my life. Let's just say moving escalators are a nightmare for me. Folks behind me have had to wait until I chose the "right" moment to get on, sweat pouring from my head. Going down is the worst. I've fallen/tripped down more than one set of them. I don't even attempt escalators anymore. Stairways are almost as bad. I hated when we had to go down stairs between classes in school, knowing that I had to go slower than anyone, and worried that someone would push me to get a move on it. Another moment in history was when Chris couldn't understand why I couldn't progress in tennis. It would have helped if I could see the moving ball - LOL! And then there was drawing and painting, my main mediums as an art education student at the University of Detroit. Remember, I don't see depth perception. No teacher was able to explain it adequately to me since my eyes weren't seeing what they saw. I understood it only from a theoretical standpoint. I could "copy" photographs to get a feel for what I think is depth, but having to paint/draw from real life (still or moving) had me put on my "coping beenie" and still I never fully liked what I produced but didn't know quite why. Dah! Chris, sweetie that he is, says it gave a wonderful flavor to my work! Such a good guy!!  

BOTTOM LINE: I've long ago forgiven the religion teacher and the "friend." Folks tend to see things from their own perspective. They can't see through my eyes. Even tho' I have had a lifelong struggle with depth perception, I've not only found ways to cope with the situation, I have found I can and do see clearly, for seeing is much more than what one does with the biological eyes sitting in our head.

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