Turn the Wheel… And Back Again

Many of you know that I work part time in the disability sector, what you may not know about me is that for the past 8 years or so I have been experiencing what I call ‘my turns'(You will see the connection in a minute). I have had all sorts of test for this EEG, cat scans, MRI, been prodded, poked and finally pronounced that they are silent migraines. Which means, in terms of my body, that I don’t get the head aches but I certainly get the symptoms. When I have a full blown ‘turn’ I cannot move my body or speak.  Which ever position I lay down in, is what I stay in for as long as it takes for the switch to flick and I am back in the land of the moving. I can hear and understand everything, I simply cannot get my body to co-operate. This can last anywhere between 20 mins and 3 hours. What I always think about when I feel trapped in my body, when I can’t wipe a tear or snot away, or remove the blankets because I am too warm, or shift positions because my hand is starting to hurt; are the beautiful children I see at school who are like this 24/7. Those cerebral palsy kids that are reliant on us for everything. What those turns have done is made me vastly more aware of noticing the little things with these students. 

I can remember at teachers college doing an assignment where I had to spend an entire outing blind folded – from getting dressed to eating, to going to the toilet. I tell you it was scary and enlightening. For example, when someone told me we were coming to some stairs I immediately asked are they going up or down and how many? I would never have thought that before. The old adage of don’t judge anyone until you have walked in their shoes is certainly one that we can take to heart. However I would like to add to that…

If you can imagine that we are all standing on the outer rim of a stationary wheel with a light in the middle on the hub, then from a northerly position we would be adamant that the light is south from us. And if we were standing on the rim in the south position then we would be adamant that the light is north. However if we then turned the wheel we would begin to see not only the light but each other from completely different perspectives, many different perspectives. And when we returned to our position in the north or south, we would then know that we were neither right or wrong, just different and that in reality we all stand in the light.

It is the same for when we look at people with a disability or from a different culture, race, religion, sex, age, social circle. If we could turn the wheel and then back, how much more compassion, empathy, understanding and tolerance would we have. We don’t have to stay in that position if it doesn’t feel right but we can certainly create space for allowing and accepting. 

Next time you are having difficulty with someone, or are just bewildered by another’s behaviour or thoughts, turn the wheel and back again and see if it gives you fresh insight and a wider ‘comfort circle’ to dwell in.




8 Responses to Turn the Wheel… And Back Again

  • Madonna says:

    Hi Natalie,

    it is very difficult to imagine life from another’s perspective. You have certainly made a strong case for the old adage about perspective, that we see everything from our own filtered position.

    If we could all be willing enough to shift our perspectives from time to time, then tolerance and compassion and understanding would naturally flow.

    A very moving post.

    • natalie says:

      Hi Madonna,
      It can be hard but when we do it opens a whole new understanding and then we ourselves broaden and expand. Thank you for your comment.

  • Hi Natalie, great blog, and you are so right. We are so often caught in judging others (and ourselves for that matter) that we don’t simply look from a place of compassionate curiosity and see there is so much diversity and beauty in difference.

    Lots of love

    • natalie says:

      Hi Nessie,
      You are so right. A little compassion and acceptance goes a long way. And really the world is wonderful with diversity.

  • Jeanne says:

    Hi Nat, what an insightful post! You are one of those rare folk who do actually see other people from their perspective, it’s a beautiful gift and is what allows you to coach and teach with so much compassion. Thank you for the awareness. love Jeanne x

  • Shiralee Wilson says:

    Hey Nat,

    So so true. When Lucas was younger and we were having so many problems with him and the stress levels were in the stratosphere due to his behaviours his developmental paediatrician said to us “I think its valuable for you to know that whatever stress you are feeling right now, his is at least tenfold of that, which is why he has these behaviours”. It was an eye opening moment for me and I began to learn all I could about his issues and how I could parent a child that wasn’t typically developing.

    There are many beautiful souls living their lessons and journeying just as we are. There is no difference to how they look on the outside or the colour of their skin, to the journey they take, the difference is in how WE treat them, what does that say about us?

  • Janine hall says:

    Great post Natalie, it’s so important to always remember what things look like through other peoples eyes, when we do this we gain a much better prospective.

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