i got a terrific opportunity to chaperone some music center spotlight visual arts students to the los angeles zoo. the zoo was kind enough to let us in so that we could photograph the animals as a workshop. it was an amazing day of watching these young artists get excited behind their cameras and taking photos.
as we were walking over to the lion’s cage, i was told how the lioness’ mate had passed on a couple of months ago. it was so interesting to then walk up and see the lioness lying there in the sun and looking so sad. but i’m not sure whether the lioness looked sad or if i just projected this onto her. were i to see a lioness in any other zoo, she would probably be sitting in much the same way in the middle of a hot day. if i saw one in the wild for that matter, she too might look much the same.
and not only was i projecting how i thought she was dealing with the loss, but add to that that i always assume animals in zoos are unhappy. i think it must be terrible to be locked in a small cage where you can’t roam around and where people are constantly surrounding you.
but who am i to project my ideas of what a situation would be onto someone or something else. just because i perceive something one way, does not mean that anybody else does.
an interesting thing about projection is that through it we tend to see in others what we fail to see in ourselves. if you see someone in a certain way, chances are that you are seeing something in them that exists in yourself, but that you might be unconscious to. start paying attention (especially to the negative things) you project onto others and then take a moment to investigate yourself and see if you too possess this quality, habit, tendency, etc.... if you do, you have just brought awareness to it.
another thing to do is listen to yourself complain about others (most all of us do it, including me. i’m not proud of it, but i do it). if it’s hard to listen to yourself do it and analyze yourself, start by listening to someone you know well complain about others. notice what gets them emotionally excited and whether that is something they possess in their personality. when you start to see your projections you begin to realize that these are your issues and not the peoples’ upon whom you project them.
also remember that if you do not withdraw your projections, you saddle someone else with something that belongs to you.
so miss lioness,
i apologize for making you sad to be where you are and without your loved one. i am sorry for your loss, but for all i know he was not a good mate. or maybe you were smuggled from your native land to somewhere where you were raised and abused by humans and the when you were found and brought to the zoo, you found a protective place to be free from harm. i do not know your story and i’m sorry i put mine onto you. may happiness surround you and may you enjoy the attention you are given.
“ be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” t.h. thompson & john watson