The Power of Perspective

by Julie Lieberman Neale on 05/07/2012

“What is one perspective you’d like to leave behind from your thirties?” asked Elizabeth, the coach and guide I hired for the day to help me and three of my closest friends mark the transition to our 40th birthdays. “It can be a belief that is limiting you or language you use that is just not helpful,” she explained.

I looked out from the Muir Beach cliffs where we’d just hiked, and felt grateful for such a beautiful day to reflect upon this milestone. The air was crisp but not too cold, the sun was shining, and the cresting ocean created the illusion of diamonds sparkling across the water. If there was ever a moment for an epiphany, this was it! I took a deep breath and looked out at the water, feeling pressure to identify something meaningful. Then, in an instant, it came to me.

Letting Go

For five years, my husband and I had been trying to conceive a second child. We explored special diets, Chinese herbs, surgical laparoscopy, but each month we faced disappointment. While we felt incredibly blessed to have our eight-year-old son, we didn’t want to stop trying to grow our family, and we decided to undergo intense fertility treatments to further our efforts to get pregnant. At the time of this hike, our first cycle had been unsuccessful. We were getting ready to try again.

As I gazed at the glistening water below, I realized that I’d been holding on to a perspective about getting pregnant that simply was not serving me. I had framed our desire to have another child as something we needed in order to “complete” our family, as if somehow we were not already whole. I visualized the three of us and imagined some vacant spot where our second child should be. Although I could not fault myself for having these thoughts, while breathing in the wide, open expanse of sea and sky that day, I realized that this mindset was limiting, and that I needed to let it go.

Choosing a New Perspective

Once I understood that I no longer wanted to think of our pursuing a second child as a quest for “completion,” I knew that I needed to choose a new, more positive perspective to replace it. I began to imagine my husband, son and me with our arms around each other – a whole and loving family – with so much appreciation for one another and so much to give. If it was meant to be, I imagined that our family would expand to gratefully welcome another child into our circle. Sharing this idea with Elizabeth and my friends brought me a great sense of relief. I knew this was the perspective I wanted to hold onto before we began our next cycle of treatments.

It’s been four months now, and I am thrilled to share that I have just entered my second trimester. Of course, I will never know exactly what influence my shift in perspective had on my ability to become pregnant, but I do know that it helped me to feel more anchored, positive and hopeful, as we started our second treatment cycle. My focus was no longer on what I thought was missing…it was all about the blessings, appreciation and fulfillment that I already had in my life. Growing our family wasn’t something I needed to become complete. Our family is already whole.

Reflection

In sharing this story, I hope to inspire you to reflect on any beliefs you may have that could be limiting you, or holding you back from experiencing a true sense of fulfillment and appreciation in your own life. I invite you to think about these questions, and share your thoughts and comments with us.

  • What is one perspective in your life that you would like to let go of?
  • What perspective would you choose to replace it with, and why?

Much appreciation,

Julie

If you’re interested in marking a major milestone through a reflective, guided hike, please visit Head-Lands online

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz Matheis May 7, 2012 at 9:59 PM

What an inspiring story – Congratulations! It truly is about reflecting on our very own thoughts and the ‘shoulds’ that we’ve created for ourselves… and realizing that they aren’t truths. We made them and we can change them.

Thank you for sharing :)

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Julie Lieberman Neale May 8, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Thank you so much for sharing your response Liz which you put so clearly. Curious to know… is there a “should” you’ve recently let go of or would like to now?

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k pytel May 7, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Julie, what a great idea to have a date with friends, coach/guide and mark the milestone. More importantly CONGRATS. Very exciting news. I look forward to hearing more. Blessings.

Reply

Julie Lieberman Neale May 8, 2012 at 5:23 PM

Kathy – thank you for the congratulations! Yes, the marking of my milestone through the guided hike with friends was so wonderful. Nothing like the power of being outside to open and shift your thinking!

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