Truth or Perception?
One morning last week, I was sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast, when I picked up the new O’ magazine. An article by Elizabeth Gilbert caught my attention. It was titled, “The View from Here”, and she wrote how “the older she got, the less interested she was in investigating the truth about our lives, and the more interested in the way we see that truth”.
The article stirred a childhood memory I had with my father. When I was in sixth grade, I was allowed to learn to play a musical instrument. There was one caveat; there was a three year commitment. As I saw my brother, who in my eyes, was a definite commitaphobe, stick it out with the drums, I was eager to begin saxophone lessons. It was 1969 and 12-year old girls didn’t play saxophone; it wasn’t very “feminine”, my dad said. He suggested I learn the flute or clarinet, befitting of my gender and age.
What is the truth? The truth is, it was 1969 and 12 year old girls (in Parochial school, no less) didn’t play saxophone. And just as Elizabeth Gilbert states, “What seems to matter in the end is not so much what happens to us, but how we perceive what happens to us. That perception, ultimately , becomes the world we will inhabit.” And in the end, I didn’t play the saxophone, and even though I really loathed playing the clarinet, it wasn’t playing the clarinet that I remember, as much as it was my perception of what my father said to me.
Years later, when I mentioned this incident to him, he laughed and said, “Deb-Deb, I never said that the saxophone wasn’t feminine and you couldn’t play it.” I just grinned and smiled, having learned so much from Don Miguel Ruiz’s , “The Four Agreements”: When you remember something one way, that is your truth. When someone remembers it a different way, they are not wrong any more than you are. They simply perceive the truth a different way.