Emotional Triggers

A Parallax Community Post submitted by Jonas Marschall on 2012/03/05 at 2:45 pm

The Parallax, a story within a story within a story, tells many different things. Most importantly, it tells us how much people suffer unnecessarily, simply because they fail to grasp other perspectives than their own. Frank Beck misinterprets the situation surrounding his father’s death so that he will walk through life with the guilt of being responsible for it. Frank Beck also misinterprets the situation when his wife’s illness becomes apparent only to establish a marital disconnect that will last for decades. One could say that much sorrow comes from misinterpreting the expressions and reactions of others. Communication with others receives an additional meaning – it should serve as provider of multiple angles at the same setting. Someone else’s viewpoint can rectify much, just as can introspection (does it have to be written?). As a result we may leave old and obsolete positions. The story shows us that this is frequently prompted by events that overwhelm us with emotions. I’m convinced that events of much, much smaller scale than 9/11 can trigger us to discover the parallax!


99 thoughts on “Emotional Triggers

  1. I agree with the statement that people suffer unnecessarily because they do not grasp other perspectives. In the story Frank ends up causing unnecessary suffering to both himself and his wife, this is often also so true of other people. Often I feel that differences in perspectives could be worked out if there were good communication to make up for the differences in perspectives. Communication allows a way of settling the difference in viewpoints and often aids in introspection of the matter as it is discussed between people. I believe big events often trigger the discovery of the beauty that comes from good communication and can cause flourishing relationships. Once good communication is established in one setting it becomes much easier to keep good communication as a practice, and make understanding others prospective a habit. I think that once Frank realized he was misunderstanding others perspectives he will have an easier time making sure he understands the other’s prospective in the future.

  2. I agree with this statement as well. In The Parallax, the reader learned that communication is important not only with Frank’s story at the beginning and his lack of communication with his wife, but also in the second half of the book. During the workshop you could see how communication between the different characters was also important. At the beginning of the workshop the characters were a little hostile and weary about the workshop. Once Dr. Stein encouraged everyone to write down their thoughts and feelings they started to understand what the workshop was really about. As more people shared their thoughts it became clear that the workshop worked. If no one shared what they wrote the progress and clarity that was made at the end of the workshop might not have occurred. This just shows how important communication is, and that by communicating with one another and sharing our thoughts and feelings we can understand each other on a deeper level. There are very few problems in the world that cannot be resolved with communication.

  3. I agree with all comments that were written above. Through the book you see the importance of communication through Frank’s story specifically. Open communication amongst people helps to eliminate the unecessary suffering because it helps to open your mind up to the different perspectives that exist. There are a lot of little and big life events that trigger individuals to have emotinal responses or dig up memories that may have been buried. Some emotional triggers however bring up good ideas rather than sad or upsetting ones. In the book it was 9/11 that was a large trigger but something as small as picture or smell is what could trigger some to have a strong memory or emotinal response. Without good communication these could effect those around you more that just yourself.

  4. I think this post is really relevant to my life personally right now because I am currently in an issue where communication is a problem between me and my roommate which I believe is causing the both of us unnecessary emotions. In The Parallax, Frank Beck causes unnecessary suffering to himself and those around him due to the inability to see others perspectives and communication. Oftentimes people draw conclusions on events based on their own thoughts and ideas but fail to try to think of the event in a different perspective. Communication between people can often resolve these issues; however, it is easier said than done seeing as how many people don’t communicate as often as they should. There is also the issue of mis-communication where one person interprets something different that when the other person intended to convey. Connecting back to my own personal life, I believe that I often draw skewed conclusions about people’s feelings without first asking them what their feelings are. Even though the solution is simply to communicate with the other person, people often don’t do that which is why there are so many interpersonal problems in this world. It would be an interesting study to investigate why exactly it is that people avoid communication even though it is the simplest solution to most problems.

  5. The Parallax has helped me to further understand the therapeutic importance of writing. Writing not only enables us to improve articulating our thoughts into words, but it works in deeper ways. When we experience hardships and write about our thoughts, emotions, and feelings, we are able to in a way let go of these worries that are so burdensome and hinder us from experiencing joy. Although initially writing about our dark struggles may be painful and difficult, in the end we can be liberated from these things. For example, when my grandmother passed away, I was devastated as I was not able to spend time with her before she passed away. I recall writing in my journal everything I had been feeling at the time. There were a lot of tears and heartache as I was journaling, but after letting out everything, I felt so much more at peace with everything. Reading The Parallax helped confirm that writing can be very beneficial for all of us emotionally and mentally.

  6. Metaphorically, I believe the trails in the mountains are all difficulties, or battles, in the man’s life and he is remembering a relatively hard battle from the past. He feels guilty about his wife’s COPD, among other circumstances surrounding the hike (how he got the new boots). He does not want to go back to that trail because it was hard enough to get through once, he does not want to do it again. By reflecting on this experience, the man gained further insight into something that he has suppressed for a very long time. He has always felt guilty about that day and thought it was better to keep it to himself. He was able to talk to his wife about the guilt he had, which in turn gave him a more positive outlook.

  7. When reading The Parallax, I noticed that the writing from the very beginning of story starts out as being very descriptive. Personally, I think that the descriptive aspect of the writing made the story more realistic and interesting for me. Also, those descriptive details helped me paint a picture in my head of how the scenery was in the story. In addition to the details, I also felt that the author’s use of real life events and real life places made the story realistic and something that the readers can relate to while reading it. I feel that when reading about a character’s actions in certain place or certain time helps the reader’s think about themselves in those places or situations and how they would react. Overall, I believe this book makes the readers think about their own thoughts and feelings whiling reading the book. In a way this book helps the reader connect with their own emotions and that makes the story even more interesting for the readers.

  8. Longs Peak Trail represents Frank’s journey through life with the summit representing his goals and ambitions. Agreeing with Justin, the other trails represent Frank’s battles along the way. He has suppressed these battles/feelings for so long that his goals are no longer in sight, they have become cloudy. Once Frank is finally able to open up to his wife those goals reappear. Breakdown in communication can cause these grey areas, however good communication can lead to positive end results.

  9. I have to agree with the above statement. Many people suffer because they cannot understand where another person’s opinion is coming from. They cannot see things from the other person’s perspective or they fail to notice that the other person is expressing an opinion that he or she feels passionate about. Misunderstanding is the basis of most arguments between couples, friends, families, and coworkers. Some people may be so caught up in their own daily lives that they fail to realize that many people have differing opinions. This causes a disconnect in effective communication that can lead to unproductive work conditions or uncomfortable living conditions. This creates unnecessary suffering that could have been avoided by simply slowing down and paying attention to what is going on with everyone around us. I think that many people in the Parallax come to this conclusion throughout the story.

  10. One of the most symbolic elements in the book was the breaking of the leaf. I think this was a defining moment in Frank and Sarah’s life. It represented Frank releasing the guilt he had built up throughout the years. Frank needed to express what he felt, and he also learned that you can’t always view something form one perspective. You should look at things form all angles. When Sarah no longer had the leaf, I believe she was moving onto a new part of her life. She too, learned that not everything has been perfect on their long journey but things can be worked out and life must go on.

  11. The Parallax is a great story to read, and has taught me many new things. I agree with the comments above that in communication was an important aspect to this story. I have seen in many situations where people are not able to communicate properly through there opinions, non-verbal gestures, etc and has led to someone suffering because of it. This was similar in the couple’s communication at the start of the story, but through the book we learned how it can change and have a good outcome when there is good communication. Overall, I am really happy that I had the chance to read this book. The story was real and painted a beautiful picture with words. I encourage everyone to read The Parallax.

  12. Looking into the book, most all of the themes that are presented in some way relate back to communication and how you deal with those emotional triggers. Wether we are looking at the scene at the beginning in the cabin or at the seminar later on in the book, communication is an essential theme. Without communication WE can’t express ourselves. It is with communication WE are understood and also understand others. Emotional triggers may cause us at time to break down in this communication. We may become more reserved, aggressive, hysterical, etc. Any range of emotions is possible. This is where we need to find someway as individuals to channel this emotion into communication. Carrying guild and emotions can lead to stress and can cause a person to be overwhelmed- talking, writing, blogging, etc whatever mode you may use may thus become your outlet. I personally have to talk to people I have to hear things out loud. Much like others in the book it has more power and more meaning when I speak it- I just have to be careful to remove the “overbearing” emotions from my conversation as to not push away a support. REMEMBER we all have our own ways of dealing with things and ultimately our own way of HOW WE VIEW THINGS. It ultimately then is up to the individual on the final outcome and their acceptance of every issue.

  13. The Parallax is good book to read to help discover yourself. As the book stated “Common sense ain’t necessarily common practice,” I would have never thought that sitting down and writing would teach you so much. Writing shows us that the power of words helps shows us the “concious and subconscious” paradigms within us and how to overcome it. This book helps us to think about the point-of-view we use and how it effects our daily lives, personally and at work. This is truly a great book!

  14. I also agree with all of the comments written above. Frank Beck is the epitome of an individual who is narrow minded. He doesn’t see things in other people’s perspectives and just focuses on things that he sees. This, along with his lack of communication, is like a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. I, as a reader, can tell that only bad things can come from this, and that is inevitably what happens as relationships are damaged. I feel like this topic is very insightful to have because this is an issue that many people deal with. Whether it be themselves, their friends, family, or their significant others, people can usually easily name a handful of people who have a lack of communication that leads to problems. I know personally I have been narrow-minded at times, and I also have at different times refused to see things through other people’s eyes. I feel like this is something good to think about not only in a social aspect, but also in a professional aspect. This is because effective communication is vital in order to be successful at whatever it is that you do.

  15. After reading The Parallax, I realized how easy it can be to ignore the perspective of other people when you, yourself are feeling guilty or upset about something. By doing this you actually end up making things worse for everyone. It’s important to remember that even though you feel guilty or sad that your actions can really affect the people that are around you. It is good to talk to everyone that might be affected by you and let them know what is on your mind and why you are upset. By just holding it inside and keeping it to yourself you end up hurting the people who care for you. I’m glad The Parallax was able to remind me of these concepts. I am glad I got the chance to read it.

  16. People really do suffer unnecessarily because they do not grasp other perspectives. When one person fails to see other perspectives, it not only hurts him/her, but also others around him/her. Communication is essential to seeing other perspectives. It also takes an open mind. One person can talk and talk, but if the other person is not open to hearing new ideas, nothing will change. One big message I took from The Parallax is to look at situations from every angle and be open to others’ perspectives.

  17. This book contained a lot of meaning within its humble pages. The Parallax is a vivid work that allows individuals to consider their interior motives and to ponder about those around us. By stepping out of our shoes into others, we observe that our preconceptions of individuals are often unjust to the persons. When people write they reveal parts of themselves they did not know exists. The essence of writing can then be deciphered to truly understand how a person views the world around them and can be a bonding source to all its readers. While the beginning chapter was a little too overzealous in its syntax, I found the Parallax to be a worthy read.

  18. This book goes along with a saying that has always stuck with me, ” You never truly know someone, until you walk a mile in their shoes.” Anytime I read a book I look as an opportunity to do just that, step inside of someone else’s mind and see everything from there perspective. However, in this case it felt more like I was just reliving past mistakes. For a time I also had trouble looking past my own troubles to notice the struggles the people around me were having. Unfortunately, this led to me not being able to be there for them while I attempted to bottle up my own feelings. This book made me realize the different ways people deal with emotional triggers and how that can affect the people around them and some of the barriers to communication that these coping mechanisms may put up. Whatever the barriers to communication present, people who recognize them should do everything they can to break them down. I know from personal experience that if communication breaks down then the mind starts working and coming up with “what if” scenarios that are usually much worse than the reality. Without communication these scenarios will get progressively worse until the proverbial dam breaks. I’m very happy to have read this book and remembered some epiphanies I’ve had in the past.

  19. The initial comment about emotional triggers is a great one. Realizing other people’s point of view is a simple idea, but it is often misunderstood. As kids after a fight we are told to try to “put ourselves in his/her shoes” in order to understand the problem. In the story, Sarah has put a lot of emotion and power to the trip they took together and the agonizing hike they went on. She has kept the leaf in the guide book and is completely distraught when Frank steps on it. Frank cannot understand why it’s so important to her because he can only see the event from his point of view and how miserable it was for him. It’s not until he really thinks about it that he understands how she viewed the event. We should keep this in mind with all our communications with others and remember, simple as it is, that putting ourselves in the position of someone else is a great exercise and leads to greater understanding and a better relationship.

  20. “The Parallax” has described how things such as metaphors and symbolism can not only be noticed and visualized by any person, but they can also guide a person to be able to pull themselves out of their own perspective and be able to see a situation in a whole new light. Being able to connect with a story or person and not just read it will lead to a better understanding of the entire situation including all perspectives, even those that would not have previously been noticed.

  21. I also agree with the original statement that “people suffer unnecessarily, simply because they fail to grasp other perspectives than their own”. In the story Frank was only seeing things through his persepective. It was through this fault of his that caused him guilt and grief since he was 13 years old. Even as a young boy if he would have looked at his father dying from his mother’s perspective.he may not have felt like he was the sole reason his father died and he also wouldn’t have felt like his mother was angry with him. Also, through his guilt from going shopping and meething the DA before his second honeymoon his marraige almost fell apart. It was only once he was honest with his wife and communicated more effectively that he became at peace with himself and saw things from other perspectives. I think 9/11 had an impact on us all. We all looked at the world from a different perspective from that day forward. Sometimes it takes tradgedy for people to better themselves. In the case of Frank, 9/11 was that tradgedy.

  22. I can see how The Parallax can teach us many things about awareness of self and others. For me, personally, I can relate to Frank’s pent-up guilt. When he finally reveals his confession to Sarah, he is able to understand his dream. At first, he interprets his dream as himself trying to save Sarah from falling, but realizes that she is the one who saved him. It’s amazing how simply revealing your emotions to someone else can help you understand something that you could have never figured out on your own. This book is great for anyone who is ready to open their eyes to see not only themselves, but others as well, in a new perspective that can provide therapeutic healing and lifelong benefits of understanding.

  23. I completely agree with the original post. Frank and Sarah shared the experience of the hike, but came away from it with two completely different emotional viewpoints. Because of this, it got in the way of their marriage for years without them discussing it. It wasn’t until the communication opened up and they could see the others’ viewpoint that the situation could be resolved. The idea of writing to acquire a new viewpoint is one that I personally have never heard before, but completely agree with and intend to practice in my own life. I really enjoyed reading and believe that I gained knowledge from The Parallax. I would recommend it!

  24. I agree with the statments above. Perspective is often the most important aspect that can potentially create opposite emotions. In the viewpoint of Frank, he believes that his fathers death was due to messing with the settings on the heater, when really his father did not know that the heater could cause death. One of the easiest way to gain perspective is to express your current emotions with someone verbally or through writing exercises as seen in the book. Once this is established, it is easier to decipher the real situation and realize that an event that you blamed on yourself may really not be your fault at all.

  25. Shannon really hit on what stood out to me in The Parallax. Frank and Sarah’s hike to Odessa Lake was a completely different experience depending on perspective – for Frank, it was marked by misinterpretation and the beginning of his pent-up feelings of guilt; for Sarah, it saved her life and was an experience to be remembered fondly. Perspective again was the key for the breakthroughs that occurred during the workshop – Kyle the CEO never considered his employees’ perspectives; Father Ryan never considered Katie’s perspective of her big brother. As a consequence, Frank, Kyle, and Father Ryan were locked into destructive ways of thinking. Looking at things from a new perspective allowed Frank to become a better husband, Father Ryan to change his perception of self, and Kyle to (presumably) become a more empathetic boss.

  26. Misinterpretation and self-absorption are common occurances in our culture. With texting and emailing and facebooking and little-to-no personal interaction, the chances of misunderstanding a person’s comments is great. Think about it. How often is a simple text mistaken as a sarcastic jibe or a facebook comment taken as a personal insult? We’ve all become so absorbed in our own little worlds that we forget about others around us.

    Frank and Susan had been married 25 years, yet seemed to barely know each other. In one tragic day, they suddenly open up about years of pent-up fears and regrets. Life is short. We shouldn’t waste our precious time here on earth living in regret. I once read a poem entitled “The Dash” and I’d like to share it here.

    I read of a man who stood to speak
    At the funeral of a friend.
    He referred to the dates on her tomstone
    From the beginning. . . to the end.
    He noted that first came her date of birth
    And spoke that following date with tears,
    But he said what mattered most of all
    Was the dash between those years.

    For that dash represents all the time
    That she spent alive on earth. . .
    And now, only those who loved her
    Know what that little line is worth.
    For it matters not, how much we own;
    The cars. . .the house. . . the cash,
    What matters is how we live and love
    And how we spend our dash.

    So think about this long and hard. . .
    Are there things you’d like to change?
    For you never know how much time is left,
    That can still be rearranged.
    If we could just slow down enough
    To consider what’s true and real,
    And always try to understand
    The way other people feel.

    And be less quick to anger,
    And show appreciation more
    And love the people in our lives
    Like we’ve never loved before.
    If we treate each other with respect,
    And more often wear a smile. . .
    Remembering that this special dash
    Might only last a while.

    So, when your eulogy’s being read
    With your life’s actions to rehash. . .
    Would you be proud of the things they say
    About how you spent your dash?

    ~Linda Ellis c1999

    I recently lost a loved one, and this poem is especially meaningful right now. Don’t let your life go by wasted in films of regret and guilt. Reach out and seek forgiveness from those you love and from God. The Parallax describes a couple desperately trapped in a cycle of bitterness and misunderstanding. While they finally do open up to one another about years of supressed feelings, they let 25 years slip away first. Live your life like this is the last day you have to walk around this earth–don’t throw away your dash.

  27. Everyone has different opinions and perspectives about the world and life. Backgrounds, past experiences and individualized journeys in life thus far shape our emotions and how we handle situations as they come at us. The Parallax enlightened me to the idea that changing perspective when approaching a situation may better allow us to completely analyze a scenario and the emotions that come from it. In order to grow emotionally and expand emotional intelligence, an individual must be open to changing perspective. Only when we expand emotional intelligence to the brim can we fully contribute personal effectiveness to our relationships and society. Effectively recognizing and handling emotions and feelings can improve personal effectiveness because our emotions won’t stand in the way of pursuing and achieving personal goals and being effective through those goals.

    Everyone is searching for meaning in life. The following quote from The Parallax comes to mind: “When we’re in the moment, our emotions conceal the true meaning of our actions.” This makes me think of all the times I’ve jumped to conclusions or handled a situation differently in the heat of the moment because I let my emotions get the best of me instead of taking a breath and coming back to handle the situation with a clear head. Overall, we all need to step back and “mute the TV” to think about our lives including our fears, goals and emotions. It is when we can understand and balance these pieces we can wholeheartedly apply personal effectiveness toward everyone we encounter.

  28. “The Parallax” steps on the feet of all peoples by extracting our egotistical nature and innate perception of life that leaves us as selfish human beings. It is not our instinct to step into the mind of others in order to develop a greater understanding of the circumstance; rather, we tend to envelope ourselves in our particular side of the circumstance, choosing not to see a whole, but dwell in an emotion-perpetuating half. Enabling ourselves to see with a new perspective can lead to much more effective communication and, ultimately, the cessation of many plights that taint our days. Frank and Sarah were both present in the same physical circumstance while hiking at Odessa Lake; however, they were in, and left in, very different emotional circumstances: perspectives. The moment Frank stepped on Sarah’s treasured leaf was a defining metaphoric climax in this book, revealing the drastic difference in Frank and Sarah’s thoughts of the hike. This book reminds us that it is of indefinite importance to consider another’s intentions, thoughts, or feelings in any relationship we establish.

  29. After reading this book, I noticed that I, like the other readers, found the therapeutic effects of writing about my emotions, much like the exericse with Dr. Stein. I did not realize how many stressors and feelings I had locked up in my subconcious and they were enveiled in my writing. A nonstop rush of thoughts and feelings kept coming and I didn’t even pay attention to gramatical erros and completeness of thought. Also while reading the Parallax, I realized that I built a strong empathetic attachment to the stories, which I believe was the intention when it was written. Overall, the Parrallax was an inspiring book, that I really enjoyed reading. Thank you for the opportunity for this read.

  30. Reading the story through Frank’s perspective, I found myself internally yelling at his character for how he acts and the affection, or lack thereof, he shows towards Sarah. As she tries to be fun, spontaneous, and loving, Frank cannot bring himself to step outside of his precise and meticulous character. He fails to understand how something like a leaf can have meaning to someone else, and projects his emotions onto others. While it seems so obvious to the reader that Frank must simply open up to Sarah, this is in itself the idea of a parallax: the reader’s perspective sheds different light on the situation and allows us to understand the relationship in a way Frank cannot. Not until such an emotional event as the attacks on September 11 does Frank seem to understand that he is creating his own burdens. In our own lives, or at least my own, the same thing seems to occur. As you look back on a situation, you see it with different understanding and wonder why solutions weren’t as simple as they seem now, or how an obviously poor decision was made. Personally I can relate to the emotion experienced at events like funerals or weddings, and how it causes one to stop and rethink our situations with friends and loved ones. If we can find common and positive emotional triggers for this kind of introspection, I believe we can be much more effective at our relationships with others, leading to a healthier, more fulfilling life.

  31. Reading about Frank and Sarah’s relationship has helped me to see many parallels between their relationship and the relationships that I have had with many people so far in my life. Many times, I have had times where I was just like Frank; I would only focus on myself and the situations that effected my life, instead of seeing a bigger picture with the people I was spending my time with. Which caused a separation between myself and them. This story depicts how being centered only on your own life can affect all of the people who come into your life; sometimes there might be positive, but for me it was mostly negative. This story has taught me not only that relationships with people are special and need to be enjoyed no matter how trivial, but also that deep rooted relationships with loved ones need to be focused on specially hard in-order to be able to understand the entire feelings that are being portrayed by all the players.

  32. It’s so interesting how one story can spark different emotions and memories from people who hear the same story. The Parallax was very touching and opened up my eyes to the importance of looking at situations from different perspectives as well as communication in relationships. A situation that hurt and upset me so much may not have been a big deal to another person who was involved in or observed the same situation. In addition, miscommunication about what actually happened often provokes the situation even more. I tend to take things personally and end up hurting my own feelings by misinterpreting other people’s words and actions; however, I’ve learned that I’m usually the one who overthinks the situation at first. Although it may be difficult to approach someone when fear or other emotions get in the way, I believe it’s always best to talk things through and be honest with one another, accepting the consequences of one’s actions. Effective communication is the best way to clear up any misunderstandings.

  33. After reading the Parallax, I immediately began to think of how individuals process their emotions. In general, it is understood that men should be much less emotional than women. After all it would be a disaster to let an emotion control our line of thought rather than sound logic or reason. It is because of this that I think most people, not excluding women, suppress emotions and the events that occur around them. It can be much easier to discard an event or ignore it entirely rather than process it and face the emotional consequences. While I have never experienced the death of someone close, it was after the death of a family friend that I learned its easier to just take a selfish role, feeling bad for that individual, but ultimately letting life move on just like it never happened. Because you feel helpless in that situation, logic tells you that there is no reason to dwell on that experience so you find yourself pretending that it never happened, showing little emotion and moving on with your life as nature intended. I believe this is where learning the lesson of The Parallax, to view events, relationships and even tragedies, from a different perspective is most beneficial. If you learned to process these emotions and let them go, I believe you would not only strengthen yourself as an individual but increase your emotional intelligence regarding relationships and the events which carry emotional ties that occur every single day.

  34. Having been forced to read an introspective, self-improvement type of book in high school, I was fairly certain that I wouldn’t gain much from reading The Parallax. After completing the book, I was happily surprised that I was incorrect. This book made me realize just how much memories and past emotions truly influence our day to day lives. The story of Frank, the death of his father, and how his wife, Sarah, pulled him “back from the ledge” sheds light on the importance of dealing with memories instead of trying to forget them. I agree with Carson’s post above; instead of dwelling on past experiences, it is much easier to simply “forget” about these memories and pretend that they did not happen. However, a past tragedy cannot be pushed aside and forgotten. The Parallax reinforced that it is best to deal with the tragedy and cope with it, to the best of a person’s ability, than to try and forgot. Not only will this help a person move forward after a tragedy, but it will enable them to better deal with the next tragedy that occurs in their life.

  35. While reading this book I felt a great deal of sympathy for Frank. For years he has carried guilt and fault with him for his father’s death and his wife’s medical condition which he did not deserve to feel. Unfortunately, his misconception of each situation lead to long-term harboring of these feelings until the tragic event of 9/11 forced him to finally expression emotion about other tragic events in his life. Once finally opening up to his wife about his perceptions of each situation, she was able to open up his eyes to different perspectives of each situation that took the blame and guilt away from Frank. Frank, like most people, is afraid to open up about his emotions, even to his own wife. I think that people should learn a lesson from Frank and not wait to communicate about subjects that bother them. By opening up about subjects that are hard to talk about will allow us to free ourselves of those feelings faster rather than bottling them up and cause problems in other aspects of our lives.

  36. The ability to understand another’s perspective is the foundation to a lasting relationship. It is natural for us to gravitate to our own views on a given situation, but no story is one sided. The distinction in Sarah and Frank’s views on the hiking trip demonstrate how two thoughts over the exact same encounter can be completely opposite. Sarah remembers the trip as a time to be thankful for emerging her health problem; whereas Frank views the trip as a time he could have killed his wife over her health condition. These emotions stayed bottled up for 25years, until an emotional event, as catastrophic as 9/11, triggered them. Much like Frank and Sarah, I too have viewed situations one-sidedly, leading to damaged relations once emotional triggers unfolded. I believe honest communication and a change in perspective can lead to self-discovery and a more meaningful relationship.

  37. “The Parallax” helped readers to understand that emotions are guided by one’s interpretation and outlook. Frank was a prime example of all individuals who view life in an egocentric way. Without having the ability to view certain experiences and ideas in another’s point of view, we fail to feel empathy and hence disconnect from the rest of the world. In this day and age, people are selfish and so individually focused. We miss the big picture of connecting with others in harmony because we choose to focus on our own point of view. Truth is, life is more than our own perspective and feelings. We become genuinely happier and content when we are able to connect with others on how they feel and even think. Another key point ”The Parallax” pointed out was the power of honestly and communication in a relationship. Without being honest, we carry the burden of guilt which eventually converts into resentment. Honesty liberates our vulnerability and at certain points in life, it is necessary to feel vulnerable. Every individual must have another person to confide in. In my opinion, it is is truly a blessing to have at least one person in life to keep us sane and fully accept us for our strengths and weaknesses, and in these individuals we can completely free ourselves without any restraints. A meaningful relationship, whether it be family, friends, or a significant other, accepts an individual for their true personality. I believe a healthy relationship consists of commitment, honesty, communication and the ability to view from another’s point of view. After all, life is more than about ourselves but about the people around us as well.

  38. The Parallax is a story that people can relate to. As we go through life, we develop these perceptions about certain scenarios that have happened in our life, complete with emotional triggers. Memories that we remember strongly usually are involved with great emotion. Sometimes with the great emotion, our perceptions can be altered from the actually event. Frank, the main character, is no exception to this rule. As he looks back on the Odessa Lake, he is filled with such strong hate from that hike that he cannot see the good from the situation. Sarah, on the other hand, is able to see the good in the hike-that it saved her life. I believe that a good take home message from this book is to look at things with a new perspective sometimes. If we are always so blinded by our emotions and our perceptions, we may lose essential valuable meaning to a certain event. A good example of this would be the 9/11 incident. As a nation, many people were blinded to the good of the situation by wallowing in the destruction, fear, and sadness that it had caused. Yet, from this event, the nation grew closer as a whole and pride was reestablished in the country .

  39. Amanda-
    I know exactly what you are talking about; however, I don’t think you meant there was any good in the situation (the attack and subsequent deaths) because obviously thousands of people lost their lives. However, the good that we discovered was that the USA is a nation driven by goodness, in contrast to the evil that had been thrust upon it by a group driven by hatred. It was that goodness that “rose to the top” in response to that truely evil attack. So, it wasn’t that we found any good in the situation, but instead we found the goodness in ourselves.

  40. As I was reading the Parallax, I began to think about my own emotions and feelings. I have never taken a few minutes just to myself, to think about my own emotions, or the feelings of others around me. The Parallax made me realize that so much happens around us every second, yet most of us are consumed in our own lives, we fail to realize the feelings of other individuals.

    The characters in the book were so well developed, each character related to me in some way or another. For example, Frank, at times he was so concerned about himself, that he would neglect Sarah. There have been times that I have been so consumed in my own life, which in turn makes me forget about the loved ones around me.
    The Parallax is an extremely inspiring book. It opened up a whole new world for me.

  41. After reading The Parallax, I felt like every corner of the book revealed a different aspect to the story and an underlying meaning to the thoughts that one man was consumed by. It made me think about how his view of what happened impacted how he felt about the situation and situations to come. This changed the approach he made when it came to brokenness with his wife, son, and daughter. It is amazing how emotions can cloud reality. In the story, I believe the Longs Peak trail represents the goals that Frank wanted to achieve but along the way lost sight of and the goals became cloudy. At the end of the story when the peak is finally visible again, it demonstrates how proper communication can change everything. Grey areas become clear! Communication comes easier to some than to others. In general, I feel ones readiness to communicate has a lot to do with how they were raised. Although some aspects of communication might be brought on about generalizations about how one should act. For example, the longtime battle of men vs. women when it comes to emotions and communication. I believe that these generalizations can be stopped in their tracks by any one hiccup in a person’s life and can cause a person to take a step back from all of their emotions to discover the parallax. Once this has occurred their live will never be the same!

  42. Throughout the Parallax I found myself thinking how easy it was to connect with and how it paralleled my life in a variety of ways. The main character and his wife’s struggling relationship is ever so apparent in modern day relationships and it brings up how easy it is to “cover up” mixed feelings about a partner instead of talking about any and all concerns straight out with the other. On the other hand, it brings up how NOT telling the truth and keeping guilt inside to broil is just as difficult. An interesting turn took place while I was reading this book as I found myself relating to Sarah in so many ways. As an ultimate optimist and overall people pleaser/argument mediator I look for ways to change the subject from bad news to good memories of the past. This, I realized, is a paradigm of mine, in that I block out my current feelings to try and brace myself from feeling any hurt. Feeling openly is something she learned throughout the book, to let go, and trust herself with her husband and children. It was more difficult for me to relate to the 9/11 pain, but my empathy was strongly triggered throughout the many different stories shared in the small groups. This book brought out my “parallax” state of mind and helped me to mull over some feelings that hadn’t been brought out due to the stress of a busy life at school.

  43. As I was reading the parallax, I was thinking about the relationship between the health care provider and the patients. As a pharmacy student, I was told to be empathetic. But I have never really understood what it meant to be empathetic. Should I feel sorry for my patients? Is that empathy or sympathy? Reading the parallax gave me a different perspective on being empathetic. I think being empathetic is to think from the patient’s perspective. Would patients want me to feel sorry for them? Highly unlikely. Thus, empathy is different from sympathy. What the patients want is for the healthcare providers to see their situation and the treatment they have to go through from their perspective. They want us to walk and converse with them instead of carrying them and telling them what to do.

  44. Emotional triggers are responsible for many recalls of memory. Some times when we are the middle of doing something we read a word or see something that reminds us of a previous memory. We also trigger our memories with our emotional states. When you see a family enjoying everyone’s company you think about your own family and your past-times and relationships with your family. When you hear a father and daughter yelling at each other in the Walmart aisle like I did, the other day, i think about personal relationship with my father, and think how my own arguments pan out. For a moment during your own reminiscing of your memory, you displace yourself from your line of thinking and think about the perception of the father and daughter arguing in the store and realize other people are the center of their own worlds. They are having their own memories and emotions and only they know how they truly feel. You realize the story of the world is not from one person’s perceptive but overall, murky pool of everyone’s peripheral sense of being: happy, sad, angered, any state. You realize everyone has their own memories and their own world.

  45. The Parallax really got me thinking about a lot of things. It made me think about my own life and the way that I live it. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives that we tend to not notice what those around us are going through. We tend to go day to day completing tasks and crossing them off of our “to-do” lists. We tend to be more concerned with what is happening in the moment that we cannot see the big picture. Sometimes it takes a major life changing event to really start living your life and to see that everyone is facing an obstacle of some sort. It is important to take a step back and look at the big picture to gain perspective. We can all learn from the people in our lives. Everyone has experienced different events throughout their lives that have shaped them into the people they are. It is important to look at situations through other’s eyes and then we can see that situations are not as bad as they seem in that moment.

  46. As a read through The Parallax, I was touched by how Frank felt responsible for his father’s death even though he was a child. For a child to have that much of a guilty felling goes, displays a lot about the individual. I almost felt sorry for Frank. I understood that this was fictional but it still had a strong impact on me. Even after reassurance from Sarah that Frank was not responsible, he still had very strong emotions. Having such passion feelings for anything makes a person strong both mentally and emotionally.
    I can most certainly apply these strong emotions to the people I interact with. There are people today that merely skim over someone else’s troubles and focus on their own as being worse in magnitude. I’ve been taught that there are hundreds and thousands if not millions of people elsewhere in this world that have it 10 times worse than I do. Therefore, never underestimate what people are going trough.
    I honestly think that The Parallax is a great book to read that allows the readers a new perspective on how to view situation. Truly a positive altering book.

  47. Relationships, communication, and grieving are the 3 main aspects I took to think about from the Parallax. The way Frank puts up an emotional wall to Sarah really made me realize that I actually do that in my own life. Frank felt guilty for his father’s death and I feel he never really went through a proper grieving process with support from others were he talked about the way he felt. I did this with the death of my half brother, where I didn’t want him to live with my family when I was younger because i thought it would take away the attention from my father. He ended up living on his own in Arkansas where he got in a car wreck and died. I realize this could happen anywhere anytime but that perticular instance might not have happened if he had been living with me. Reading this story I realize I cant put that guilt on myself. This is actually my first instance of evening saying this to anyone, as I am like Frank and put up emotional walls. I think sometimes i feel like I have to look strong on the outside so I hold a lot of stuff in until it comes out in rare occasions. Ive had a lot of stuff happen in my life and never really open up to anyone. Just as Sarah begs Frank to upon up to him, my girlfriends begs me to do the same and I think that is something I need to work on in order to move on with some stuff that have happened in my life. Building and keeping strong relationships with loved ones is very important and being able to communicate with them about anything is even more vital to a healthy mind and body. Its no could to keep stuff bottled up in side when some many people around that care and want to help. I see that more clearly now. Thanks Parallax.

  48. One thing I really liked throughout the book was how it talked about gaining a better knowledge of oneself by writing down your own views and feelings on a regular basis. By doing this and then revisiting them down the road you can see how you as a person has evolved and it opens your eyes to the views of others. Which brings me to the next point of how important it is to see others views of things before judging them and coming to a conclusion. Many times it is easy to always think we are correct and to categorize or judge others, when if we would just step back and look at the situation from their shoes or point of view we can definitely see there is some validity behind it. One last part of the book I liked was when it talked about not just forgetting the past. Many things in life are hard and we would like to forget them and move on, but it is so important to remember these things and allow them to change and shape us. Memories have to be dealt with and cannot be suppressed, these are a large part of what makes us who we are today.

  49. In The Parallax, Dr. Rickert cleverly engages his readers by starting off in second person, then shifting to different point-of-views as the book progresses. The Parallax instilled many emotions while I was reading it, especially the 9/11 scene. To this day, I still remember where I was, what I was doing, and how the event impacted not only me but America and the rest of the world. I was in third grade, 10 years of age. That morning on September 11, I woke up with a fever, and all I could think was why my parents were watching a “movie” instead of taking care of me. I yearned for the attention: after all, I was sick! Little did I know of the tragedy that was taking place and the suffering people were going through, and I couldn’t imagine going through the anxiety of wondering if a loved one was killed or the sorrow of knowing someone who had died. However, through this tragedy, unity and pride in the American people were reestablished, and that is one thing I will never forget. Dr. Rickert introduces writing as a therapeutic tool to overcome struggles by jotting down your innermost thoughts. Sometimes, it is through writing that a person can discover the truth that he or she was seeking for.

  50. For me it is easy to see from The Parallax that having different perspectives can really shape the outcome of a situation, so I agree with the above post. People can be in the same moment experiencing the very same event and interpret that event in completely opposite ways. In the book when the news of the 9/11 attack is first on TV Frank is enraged and angry at the attack and the fact that he isn’t there and cannot do anything to fix the situation. He feels this way because as the book describes he is a perfectionist and wants things to be all nice and neat. When Sarah is experiencing the same event at the same time Frank is she has a much different reaction. She focuses on a happy time that she had with Frank because she likes happy endings and the story being broadcast on the TV will not even come close to a happy ending. I think this is true of many people; some people get angry at things they cannot change and others know they cannot change them so they chose to ignore them. Having different viewpoints is not a bad thing, after all it’s part of life and everyone is different; and we feel different emotions. However, the real trouble comes in when people fail to see the other viewpoint that someone might have. As people we should try every day to open our minds to the views of others and as many people in the writing workshop it could be beneficial to write down about something you are feeling from the perspective of the other person involved. Even if writing isn’t something you are interested in trying I think it could help to just take a moment and think, “How I would I feel if I were in the other person’s shoes?” I know for myself sometimes I think about something that’s bothering me and wonder why no one else seems to let this little minute thing bother them, so maybe if I try and put myself in their shoe’s I could learn to not let such small, insignificant things bother me too.

  51. I was really able to relate to the idea in this post about people suffering as a result of misinterpreting others. I am one of those people who tend to read too much into others nonverbal actions. This has sometimes led to arguments or upset feelings by me or others. There are many times in life where we fail to examine the different viewpoints in place. When we don’t acknowledge the other views and feelings around us we tend to only make things worse. In the Parallax this becomes very apparent through many of the stories shared and I think that we all can relate to at least one instance of misinterpreting or overthinking something that leads us to feel a certain way when in fact all we need to do is communicate with that person in order to understand one another.

  52. It is natural for human beings to see things in one primary perspective, their own. To observe things in another light is quite difficult without systematically reflecting upon the situation or receiving communication from another to shed a different perspective. The Parallax helps enlighten the reader to “create [a] change in observational position that provides a new line of sight.” It really allows oneself to identify with the characters enlightenment and their stories and to apply that same understanding that the characters went through to oneself.

    Sometimes when I’m faced upon an obstacle, I see things in only one direction, and at times, my bottled emotions cloud my judgments and I am unable to comprehend the situation clearly. I’m unable to see from a different perspective, and I’m trapped with a lack of solutions that could rectify the situation. It is when I truly take the time to reflect upon the situation, to use that therapeutic outlet of writing, to hear upon what others have to offer with their sage advice, that I come one step closer to finding any solution or find a way to heal the emotions that were once clouding my judgments to see things more clearly and observe that secret of the parallax.

  53. Wow, where to begin. The story and above comments have got me thinking a lot about being married and healthy relationships. I find it hard to believe Frank and Sarah were able to suppress their feelings for so long. Personal stewing and mutual discourse can be devastating. I’ve been married for some years now and can attest to hell having no fury like a woman scorned/wronged. Open lines of communication and seeking to understand is what allows for a healthy relationship. If something happens between the two of us that is not appropriate or expected, the other will hear about it, and adjustments can be made going forward. We ARE from venus and mars, and ultimately a successful relationship has to do with understanding the other’s wants and needs. Its about complimenting and completing your partner, and that only happens if you make an effort to see the forest and the trees. Right now, its all about you, but when you get married it becomes all about us. Introduce children to the mix and it is all about everyone but you. Appreciate what you have while you have it because it can disappear without notice.

    Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
    To the last syllable of recorded time,
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing

  54. I, like many other readers of this tale of two struggling lovers found this to be emotionally helpful. I have always told people how I knew what they were talking about and how I understood what they were going through, but the truth is, all I was giving them was sympathy. To allow empathy to come into play would be much more work than I signed on for, most of the time. But by understanding Frank’s story in this book, I feel like I can understand people better now as well. Just take the comment above mine for example; I can easily envision myself a family man taking on the responsibilities of whatever my wife can think up. I do agree putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can dramatically change your perspective on how you view situations; and if everyone was able or willing to do that then I believe it would be an understatement to say the world would be a much better place.

  55. Being in touch with our emotions and being able to truly understand other’s emotions is an extremely important part of personal relationships. It was so sad to me the guilt that Frank held on to about his fathers death and to think his guilt wasn’t warranted. Communication is just as important in our every day life. This was shown by Frank’s lack of communication with his life. Communication is essential in understanding another person’s emotions and really our own emotions. If you just think about the number of problems that can be solved solely if more communication took place. The world would be a totally different place. Lack of communication causes suffering in many causes, which could be totally avoided. This suffering takes place because we do not understand other people’s opinions. Many people are too caught up in their own lives to really pay attention and correctly interpret others emotions and opinions. I agree with the post above mine and especially the last sentence how just seeing a situation from someone else’s side can drastically change ones perspective. This is essential in our daily lives to become better people and really in touch with our own and other’s emotions.

  56. I agree with what Jonas says about misinterpretations of situations bringing about much unnecessary sorrow in people’s lives. I myself tend to over think certain situations. I make up a much more dramatic outcome in my head then what truly ends up occurring. In the story, Frank has built up so much anger within and towards himself over the years, and the event that occurred on 9/11 is the trigger for everything to finally come out. I can see how this would effect someone who has had so much built up inside for so long; they just want to get everything out because they see how quickly things can change for the worse. I think that this type of personal realization can happen because of much less catastrophic/worldwide events, too. Small, everyday occurrences can bring out some pretty strong emotions that we never knew we felt. It’s important to not let feelings build up. Communication is key to a lot of our happiness in life. The more we communicate, the more truth is brought to certain situations. I was very impressed with this story and was pleasantly surprised by it’s message. We all need to know that things can change in an instant and it’s best to be truthful with ourselves and others at all times.

  57. I strongly agree with the original blog post and the comments following the post. The Parallax surprised me in the way that it affected me. After reading about Frank’s long-seated guilt following his father’s death, I really connected with the story in light of past events in my own life. My father passed away three years ago and I have always struggled with the idea that I could have prevented his death; that his death was because of my own negligence. I further connected with The Parallax after reading Nicole’s story about imagining how her grandfather perceived his disease. Before reading this book, I had never thought about my father’s perception of his health. This realization caused me to think in broader terms about the vast number of patients that healthcare providers interact with on a daily basis. How many providers are actually trying to understand how the patient perceives his or her own circumstances? I believe this understanding is an important aspect of patient-centered care. It can be so easy to think only in terms of your own perceptions and lose an opportunity to connect with a patient on a level beneficial for both of you. As stated in The Parallax, writing can help you discover insights about yourself and help you to improve your personal effectiveness. I have discovered, just as Frank did, that communication is a vital tool in beginning to truly understand people and to avoid unnecessary guilt and hardship. As a student and for the future, I will actively apply the principles of communication and perceptions presented in The Parallax to activities in my daily life and in my interactions with patients.

  58. I also took the message of seeing stories from others’ perspectives to heart. Reading how these workshop participants were able to gain new understanding of a situation simply by looking at it from another angle has inspired me to do this in my life. The stories from the people who had lost a loved one especially spoke to me. My grandfather passed away this summer due to numerous complications. Initially he went to the hospital with appendicitis, then developed sepsis, but was still sent home. Shortly after being sent home, my grandmother found him unconscious one morning. It took about a week of testing and treatments before he did pass. I was never very close to my grandfather, so during the mourning and funeral process, I was mostly looking at how his death impacted those who were very close to him, specifically my grandma (his wife) and my mother (his daughter). By looking at this process from their perspective, I was able to gain new understanding of the man he was and how influential he was in others’ lives. After reading The Parallax, I think I might like to reflect on the story from my grandpa’s perspective. When a death happens, we often focus on how our lives will be impacted and how we wish we had more time with the person. However, we rarely think about what the person must have been going through during their illness. I am sure my grandpa wanted to be strong for my grandma and his children, but I’m sure he was very scared and probably felt alone in dealing with his illness. From reading this book, I have a new insight on how writing can be good for helping us work through situations that are overwhelming or confusing. I think I will try to implement this technique in the future.

  59. Frank’s story illustrates, once again, how important it is to communicate with others. Effective communication is vital to the health of many relationships because it cultivates a sense of understanding and trust. When a person voices her perspective to someone else, she is sharing part of her being. Depending on the subject matter, this act could be a bit of a risk, so it takes courage to do so. However, if the other person listens with an open mind, he may gain new understanding of her, and vice versa. When people respect one another’s perspectives, they are accepting one another for whom they are which creates trust.

  60. Communication is definitely something that we need to be flexible with in terms of our profession. Frank continuously expressed disinterest with multiple characters, starting with his wife, all the way through the book. With this preconceived notion, Frank enters each interaction on a negative side and struggles to resolve issues. Instead of suppressing such emotion, it would benefit Frank to be more open minded, and possibly could result in much better outcomes.

  61. Perspective, or looking at a situation from another person’s viewpoint broadens our subjective view, to a more expansive objective view. Taking a closer look from another angle or perspective develops empathy, realizing there may be more than one correct answer, that a myriad of things are not strictly black and white, right or wrong. Expanding our perspective removes our blinders of tunnel vision. Reflecting helps us recall we need to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before we try to judge their journey. Empathy bridges the gap between us. Journaling allows us to slow down and process our thoughts and stitch together the patchwork of feelings, emotions, relationships, and experiences of our life, in order to more fully understand and appriciate them.

  62. I thought that not only was the ending of the book shocking, but also that it was quite delightful. Everything that led up to the workshop at the end of the story was set up perfectly. It was interesting to see how different people handle different situations. Some people can go on without showing any emotion, while that same situation may bring someone else down so bad that they cannot function. It seems that it is important to remember to treat everyone with a kind heart because you never know what people are going through in their lives. Someone may act the way they are acting because they are dealing with a lot at home or maybe just suffered a loss in his or her family. Some of the people in the work shop would tell stories that I could relate to so much that it almost brought me to tears. I have learned from this book to keep an open mind to everyone, talk with people, and try to understand what others are going through by relating their situations to your own.

  63. I agree with the original post that people suffer when they fail to grasp other people’s perspectives. I believe that the most important lesson that can be learned from this story is to think from other people’s viewpoints. When people only think from their own perspective, they leave themselves vulnerable for guilt and worry. When Frank thought from the perspectives of Sarah and his mother, he was able to move past his guilt by seeing that he may have misinterpreted the situations in his past. We often think of looking from another person’s perspective as something we should learn to do to help those around us, but we can see from the story that it also helps us not have to carry the burden of a problem all by ourselves as Frank had been doing for many years.

  64. On the subject of reflection, there is more than one significant type of reflection that is brought forward in this story. The most obvious reflection, that we witness through Frank’s self-transformation and paradigm shift, is the process of self-reflection. In the focus group, the writing exercise allowed the participants to reflect on their own lives, on the events and personal situations that had shaped their self-perceptions. This process is important not only for self-discovery, but also on the path to a second type of reflection– reflection about the lives of the people around us– that results in the establishment of empathy.

  65. I feel that the statement, “much sorrow comes from misinterpreting the expressions and reactions of others” from the original post is probably one of the hardest things that people in today’s society have trouble dealing with. When the characters that Dr.Stein called upon to share their stories it was good to see that some of the characters were able to realize that, when putting their story to paper, what they had originally done or said maybe wasn’t the best. They also realized that if they would have been able to view the situation through the other person’s perspective, their tale would be much different. The ability to shift your ways of thinking and shift your viewpoints, is an essential skillset that is necessary in order to be a highly effective healthcare practitioner, especially community pharmacists.

  66. Throughout reading the parallax, I found it very interesting to see what memories were sparked in my mind. Even through the different writings of these people that I did not know, emotions and memories were triggered that I would have never anticipated. It is amazing to see where your mind will wander when you step back and let it.

  67. I agree with the original post that people suffer when they fail to grasp other people’s perspectives. I also agree with another person’s comment that emotions and thoughts can be paralyzing, and those emotions and thoughts are often negative. When we keep these worrisome and stressful emotions bottled up, they can be so detrimental to mental health. By not seeking another person’s view about his father’s death, Frank sentenced himself to unnecessary grief and blame. Once he communicated his feelings about his father’s death to his wife, Frank was able to see the situation more clearly, and realized that he in fact was not responsible for his father’s death. I liked the symbolism involving Longs Peak. At the beginning of Frank’s story, his view of Longs Peak was hindered, and this symbolized the faulty perspective that he had surrounding his father’s death. At the end, he could see Longs Peak clearly, because his perspective had shifted. This reiterates the point that perspective is everything.

  68. I really enjoyed your opinion on The Parallax, and misinterpretation seemed to be a very important part of this story. I have my own traumatic event in my life that has changed my reaction to events forever. When my grandfather died, I was only 8 years old. he died after a battle with colon cancer, and when my parents told me he wasn’t doing well, that was the first time I ever saw my mom cry. It was her father she was losing, but she had to try to be strong for her children as well. When it became apparent to my 8 year old mind that my mom could not be strong and silent during this time, she had to cry, I felt that I needed to be the strong one. I couldn’t cry even though I was so sad to be losing my grandpa. So, at the funeral I didn’t cry, I kept all the tears in even as my family cried around me. I felt like I had to be the strong one, because I still had my dad. Now, since that day I have reacted to sadness in the opposite way of whoever I am with. Sometimes, people misinterpret it as being cold. I have to remember that it’s okay to cry with everyone else, in fact , it helps people see that their emotions are normal instead of feeling isolated.

  69. I agree with the original post that people tend to suffer when they do not grasp perspectives different from their own. After I take a step back and view situations from someone else’s perspective, it almost always allows me to see the situation more clearly, much like when the narrator finds out his wife had COPD.

  70. The Parallax gave a unique perspective on the idea of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. The character, Kyle, expresses the idea that anyone who was not in New York during 9/11 could not have been impacted by the event. Once Kyle participated in the writing exercise he was finally able to understand others may have been affected by the event because he was able to look at things from a different perspective. I believe that being able to look at a situation from all possible perspectives is challenging, but essential to effective leadership. Writing can be a great way to express how you feel about a situation and allow you to see how others may feel as well.

  71. The Parallax shows how often people blame themselves for things that truely aren’t their fault. Sometimes people will keep these beliefs to themselves, as did Frank. I believe that this does a great job of showing how when tragedy happens, people look deep within their lives and often discover all the things they have been bottling up inside. The Parallax is a great piece of literature that will impact most who read it.

  72. The message that I took from this book is that communication is essential to maintaining healthy relationships with family, friends, and colleagues; however, if we do not first analyze the situations that we find ourselves in and reflect on what those situations mean to us and those around us, then we will not be able to communicate our thoughts, opinions, or perspectives effectively to others.

    I agree with the author that it is crucial for each of us find some sort of creative outlet to discover our true feelings about the events that occur in our everyday lives. We need to process our raw feelings and emotions as we experience them, and turn the situation around in order to truly comprehend what has taken place. However, the author seems to push unedited writing as the ideal outlet for happening upon this understanding. While I agree that writing can be therapeutic for some, I believe that there are other avenues to seeking this comprehension. I know that I reflect on situations best when I am drawing and can put myself in the shoes of my subjects. Singing, dancing, photography, etc. can all be effective outlets as well. In my opinion, how we reflect is not important; what is important is that we reflect. It is through this process of reflection that we can communicate effectively with others.

  73. This story is very emotional as it produced many different emotions from the different perspectives while I was reading it. There are so many different perspectives seen in this story, and these perspectives allowed me to look at my own life where I may have failed to view a situation in someone else’s shoes. When I read the last sentence about 9/11, it instantly brought me back to fifth grade and all the emotions I felt even though I was 10 years old. I knew something was wrong when I went to recess at school and we were not allowed outside. The adults seemed very stressed, and I had no idea what was going on. I agree that some people fail when they don’t properly asses other people’s emotions. Frank carries the burden all these years, which he did not have to do if he viewed his situation from another perspective. His marriage to Sarah suffered from this lack of understanding, especially because of her illness. If you keep an open mind and understand that other people have struggles and problems, it will be much easier to relate to them. This is important in the health care field to better relate to others and have proper communication with others. When someone is in a bad mood, it is important to realize that there is a reason they are feeling that way, so it is important to try to encourage them to work hard.

  74. I agree on the importance of truly taking in other people’s perspectives when interpreting situations and experiences in one’s life, rather than only listening to and relying on your own feelings and emotions. I do believe that it is important for people to completely process their own emotions rather than bottle them, but I also believe it is important to go beyond one’s personal emotions and understand where others in the same situation are coming from. This way, one can see a situation from a different viewpoint, which may prove to be insightful for them in that they can better understand and process what is happening. When dealing with his father’s death, Frank solely relied on his own perspective of this event, leading to him suffering from sorrow and guilt. Communication is key in all situations, whether large or small, and can especially help in connecting the dots when a difficult or perplexing situation arises.

  75. In The Parallax, the characters engage in a type of therapeutic writing and in doing so they become more connected with themselves and with others around them. The characters use writing as a way of healing. I agree with the above statement that “writing down thoughts can be very powerful.” To creatively write without rules or proper grammar or punctuation and to just let your thoughts flow unfiltered can be a very cathartic experience. I actually took a creative writing class in college and it was nice to just sit for a few minutes at the end of class and just write about nothing in particular. There were never any prompts or page requirements, we just wrote about whatever topic we felt like writing that day. I feel this can be an eye opening experience where if you allow yourself to not hold back, you can surprise yourself with your thoughts and feelings. Writing freely can help you deal with situations, past or present, maybe even deal with something you didn’t even realize was an issue. It can help mend relationships, or possibly form new ones by allowing you to be a better communicator. Being able to openly and effectively communicate with people can open you up to differing viewpoints and allow you to be more compassionate about people who are different from you.

  76. I agree with all the previous statements. The Parallax has many core elements including: communication and guilt. I think Frank, like so many people, live their lives full of guilt about things they should have done differently. Human beings have such a hard time understanding that we cannot control everything and some things are just out of our hands. I myself can relate to this. Frank has so much guilt over his father’s death and how his relationship is with his wife. I think where communication gets tied in is that if Frank would have openly communicated this guilt he felt earlier in life he would have saved himself from years of remorse. It took him 25 years to tell his wife about how guilty he felt about their hike to Odessa Lake and once he confessed he finally could come to terms with the situation and move on. Same with Frank finally admitting all the guilt he felt about his father’s death. I think this book demonstrates that one of the ways to free yourself from guilt is to openly communicate with the truth to others.

  77. As someone who has always been relatively closed minded I generally find myself only concerned with how a situation directly affects me. While I was previously familiar with the concept of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes this is something that I have struggled with. Reading The Parallax has made me reflect on how someone’s personal situation can greatly impact how they view a particular event. While it is impossible to fully understand everyone’s unique viewpoint; through communication of emotions either through writing, as in The Parallax, or in any other form will better help us to understand what causes these vast differences in individual’s perspectives.

  78. As mentioned by the original post, many individuals suffer from concepts that are foreign to them. The Parallax showed me that a great deal can be learned when different perspectives are looked at before approaching a situation. It is often narrow mindedness that lands individuals in predicaments that could have altogether been avoided if approached appropriately. The Parallax also showed the importance of expression through creative writing. Although creative writing may seem challenging and awkward at first, it is a great way to express a person’s innermost thoughts.

  79. I am intrigued with the way that author Don Rickert encourages us to use creative writing as a way to “flip the coin over” on our thoughts and self-perceptions. His book The Parallax: See Yourself with New Understanding shows us repeated examples of fictional, but all too real, characters who use creative writing as a way to gain new perspective on their lives, beliefs systems, and relationships. Amid the wash of emotions that barraged most Americans on 9-11, protagonist Frank Beck bemoans a world he has largely created for himself – one where he feels responsible for his father’s accidental death and his wife’s COPD diagnosis, one where he allows his unacted-upon romantic interest of the distant past to sour his relationship with his wife in the present. But soon we come to find that Frank Beck and others like him who are trapped in their own unproductive thought patterns are able to use creative writing to obtain a “parallax” view – to see the situations they find themselves in from a new angle, to perceive the acts and motivations of others in a new light — and thereby to release themselves from the painful constraints of the past.
    While creative writing is not my strongest suit, I do find that I agree with the author’s main point, that our understanding of every situation is always colored by the point of view we use when we examine it. Our previous life experiences, our personal demographics such as educational background, race, and age, also our personalities and preferences will all color our perception of “reality,” (as anyone who has ever tried to win an argument will know). But what is “real” may look very different if seen from another angle, and taking the time and effort to do that often pays off, providing emotional release, improved communications, and stronger relationship bonds. That’s why this quote from Sharon Salzberg (one of my favorites) sums up The Parallax perfectly, “Life is an ever-shifting kaleidoscope: a slight change and all patterns alter.”

  80. I found it very interesting how The Parallax was able to influence the audience in the way it did. Thinking from another perspective is not something that comes naturally to most people. Many tend to only think their way and that can set them back in life or cause internal suffering. Franks perspective of his father’s death and his wife’s condition took a toll on him because he viewed the situations from one perspective and that led to a lot of guilt and unhappiness. Writing down ones thoughts opens a door for exploration. Expressing oneself through writing allows a person to go deeper into their feelings, memories, and thoughts because we get a break from the hectic world that surrounds us and enables us to connect to our inner self and really think about things from different perspectives. By doing so, I think that we see expand our options and develop a better outlook on life and the situations that we are faced with.

  81. I was captured in the very first chapter of ‘The Parallex.” I felt as though I could relate heavily with my own personal experiences. I constantly have regrets for experience I missed out on because I chose another path. In addition, it’s as though memories from my actions and wrong-doings are always haunting me. I would not say that all of my regrets come just from my time here at STLCOP. There are some mistakes that I look back on and realize that I may never forgive myself for the mistakes that I knew better but committed anyways. Although these experiences can never be forgotten, I believe that for some individuals they can express their subconscious emotions into writing. For example, I was blessed with the talent of poetry and if I have an overpowering emotion I find myself doodling up a new poem just to express my anger or self-regret. Regardless of what form of writing you choose, I believe it is powerful enough to let yourself give off some of the negative energy you are building up.

  82. Misinterpretations are a huge problem in relationships and life in general. Jonas mentioned how it can cause unnecessary sorrow in our lives’, and it is very true. Courtney is right that Frank building up all of that anger is bound to explode at some point. It eventually will meet a tipping point and that point in time is not always controlled by even the person meeting it. I know intimately what it is like to hold a lot of anger inside and for it come spewing out like venom at an unexpected time on even the ones you love. Communicating your feelings with those around you can help to slowly let off that steam before it comes to the surface unwillingly as an explosion.

  83. Considering myself to be a fairly open-minded individual, these concepts presented in “The Parallax” did not seem foreign. Opening one’s views to all the possibilities life brings us, and trying to get a glimpse of what another may view these possibilities allows us to see things beyond what we perceive, shifting our paradigm. Empathy can be a difficult thing to attain, but once learned, our views and feelings connected to the past, present, and future will be forever changed. Misinterpreting one’s intentions and not seeing and understanding can lead to loss and pain. Interpreting experiences in a new light can allow for growth, closure, acceptance, and peace. People say that writing, especially expressive writing has healing powers. Writing down these thoughts, letting them out of the cage within our mind allows us to heal and reconstruct our reality to become more self aware. Attaining self-awareness can further ones development of personal effectiveness and understanding how we affect those around us.

  84. I enjoyed reading The Parallax because it confirmed my views that all people do not view or deal with all situations the same way. I usually don’t find myself being sympathetic towards people, but I am extremely empthetic towards peoples. This trait allows me see others view very easily. People should use writing to help express their emotions they have trouble dealing with because it can be very therapeutic.

  85. This comment about the importance of different perspectives showed me a way that the concepts in The Parallax are tethered to the field of health care. Just as limiting his perspective caused Frank to misinterpret reality, I’ve seen health care providers view a patient as nothing more than a set of lab values. We forget that our work is intended to improve lives, not cure diseases, and the distinction between the two is important. Medicine’s aim should be to to look at and treat the patient as a person first and foremost, and a list of disease states second. Seeing health care through a narrow lens can keep us from providing optimal care.

  86. I agree that communication is one of the most overlooked yet vital aspects of the human experience. It seems so very simple but truly communicating and expressing your feelings with others can often be difficult and intimidating. Just as Frank Beck has a hard time at first revealing his story especially with this background as a police officer, many others may feel that same fear when showing their emotions to others. Often times, people often stifle their emotions in order to not seem weak or venerable just as the young CEO Kyle is apprehensive and skeptical about the whole process. Open communication can reveal many truths and is one of the keys to discovering the parallax.

  87. The Parallax is an intriguing novel that requires the characters to look into one’s self and analyze their own personal emotional intelligence. Being emotionally intelligent does not mean you do not have emotions or let alone control of your emotions, it means being aware of the role your emotions play in your life. From my own personal experience, I can say that attending professional school directly out of high school has really made me aware of all of the emotions that I have experienced and continue to experience throughout the course of school, and how I have developed in order to better control and respond to the various emotions that I feel. By being aware of the role of our own emotions, we can more accurately perceive the role of other’s emotions in their own lives. We witness this in the second half of the book when so many people realize the different struggles their peers have gone through and how it has impacted them.

  88. A major theme of The Parallax is being able to look at a situation from a different perspective. It is human nature to see things differently through your own eyes, but when you are able to look at something from a different angle it can really broaden your mind. Not everyone is going through the same thing, so a situation will affect everyone differently. It is important to look at a situation from everyone’s viewpoint to really understand another person and what they may be going through.

  89. I agree with the comments posted above. I struggle with seeing things the same way that other people do. I have recently learned to try to step back from the situation and try to see the situation from the viewpoint of those involved. The Parallax really shows that doing this will greatly help people to understand each other.

  90. When reading The Parallax, this sentence stuck with me: “It had been years since I’d thought of my father but sadly it wasn’t a lapse of memory. I chose to forget”. This sentence speaks volumes to me because I find myself choosing to forget a lot of the things that make me emotional. Over the years, I’ve chosen to become emotionally blunted when it comes to my family life; it’s easier to choose to forget about problems and difficulties than to address them head on. Choosing to bury emotion is comparable to burying something by sprinkling a handful of dirt on top. Emotions help define a person’s identity and all of those feelings simmer under the surface ready to be exposed again. In The Parallax, Frank and Sarah chose to bury the problems of their marriage under a handful of dirt, leaving all the emotions ready to be exposed. The 9/11 attack was an emotional trigger that brought with it the marriage problems/feelings that had been simmering under the surface for too long. Choosing to bury emotion is never a permanent solution. Only when emotions and their sources are addressed directly can positive effects occur.

  91. Writing, for me, is a way to draw out emotions that have no way of explaining themselves. When I find myself so consumed with anger, frustration, happiness, or a mixture of unexplained emotions with no productive way to compartmentalize or explain these emotions, I find myself turning to writing. Writing as a release is something that I find comforting. Often in times of anger or frustration, I write what I feel like I need to say and reread it. After rereading this intense emotion, it find myself reflecting as to whether my anger is something I can in that moment release or whether it is worth saving. I find more often than not that anger my is more of a display of my objection of things not going the way I expected they should rather than something being truly bad. And often I feel silly as well as relieved enough to erase my anger and my words with courage to move on. Writing gives me this courage.

  92. I agree with the statement above as well. The reason why we suffer unnecessary is because we try to empathize with others. Just the other day at work. I talk to a patient to see if they need any medication to be filled and I learn from the husband that his wife passed away. I apologized for his lost and he told me that they were married for over 60 years. I felt so bad for him because I couldn’t imagine how heartbroken it would be for me if I lost my wife who I was married to for over 60 years. I believe we suffer by being emphatic so that we can understand people better and to prepare ourselves in case the same situation happens to us

  93. I really agreed with everything that you said. People are very susceptible to suffering unnecessarily because they fail at just grasping their own life and their own situations. I think people should slow down and focus on what is important in life and maybe these situations would not happen near as often. An event like 9/11 will never be forgotten and the emotions that surrounded that day are emotions that can really take a toll on people. I think that an event like that would definitely push someone to discover the parallax and even smaller events could do the same thing.

  94. I completely agree with what you are saying! I really enjoyed how The Parallax was a “story within a story”. I really connected to the stories and found importance in reading the stories that were presented in this book. The story of Frank Beck is a common story that could happen to anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one. Way too often, people suffer due to a feeling of fault or guilt on themselves when a loved one dies. They can put the blame on themselves because they think that they could have changed or saved their loved ones lives. When we misinterpret other people’s reactions it can lead to guilt on ourselves. We suffer so much throughout our lives because we are empathetic to other people’s pain and feel responsibility to try and help them. It’s important that you don’t just take someone’s expression or reaction to heart, you need to communicate with them to determine how they are really feeling before you place the guilt of their frustration on yourself. It’s important that you see other people’s opinions or views of the matter before you come to a personal conclusion. However, during times of severe struggle (like the loss of a family member to sickness) it is hard to look at anyone else’s struggles other than your own which is where this communication barrier starts and can lead to terrible personal conclusions. I think it is important that people stop and enjoy the good things in their lives and don’t spend as much time looking at all the negatives things that they are faced with.

  95. The value of different perspectives – the “stories” that we all have about ourselves, and others – was the topic of The Parallax that most resounded with me. It might be because of personal things going on in my life right now, but it made me think about the stories that we craft about ourselves and, more interestingly, about others. The Parallax stresses the value of introspection and communication. Before I read this book, I had to look up the definition of a parallax, because it was a new word to me. I think the book’s title perfectly encapsulates the ideas within – a parallax is the discrepancy when seeing something from different perspectives, and it’s this idea of discrepancy between internal and external that propels the novel. Only through the right kind of communication can we learn other people’s stories and assimilate them into our own. By doing this, we can grow in our understanding of ourselves and others and move on. We must grow outward rather than stay trapped in our own small stories.

  96. I couldn’t agree more that sometimes we get too much inside our own head and are not open minded to other perspectives. It is really interesting how our own thoughts can take over our minds and emotions. Frank can’t seem to get past the fact that his father’s death was not his fault. I believe the best way to get out of your own head is by talking to someone or to write it all down. Keeping these kinds of emotions bottled up inside is only going to make matters worse. It is not always easy to confide in a friend or family member, but that’s why there are professionals that can be contacted. However, I understand that to get to this point can take time and that it is easier said than done.

  97. I enjoyed how this reading shines a light on how people’s personal narratives can vary so greatly about the same experience. Part of this difference is shown with what brings up these memories and how even reflecting with one another can shine yet another light on a situation. Despite being on the same hiking trip together, Frank and Sarah have very different viewpoints and memories from the trip. He remembers the trip based on how guilty he felt about a secret he had kept from his wife and how he originally thought his wife was mocking him with her heavy breathing that they later learned was symptoms of COPD. While Frank remembers the trip negatively, Sarah remembers the trip as saving her life because it was experiencing those symptoms that led her to get checked out and quit smoking. She even saved a leaf from the trip as a reminder. It’s only when they share their perspectives of the trip that both of them get a full understanding about the trip. By finally sharing their memories from the trip, Frank can form a new perspective and no longer feel guilty about it.

  98. The Parallax is an emotionally triggering indeed. As I read the Parallax, I found myself stopping multiple times to reflect on my own life and hardships that I have overcome and problems that I have not yet overcome that still haunt me. There are a couple of important messages that I took away from this reading. I think that Frank’s story along with all the other characters in this story are essentially about the struggle to find closure on their own terms about things that one can not control. It is about finding peace and forgiveness within oneself which can be a scary thing to do because in order to be completely honest with oneself, one must be completely vulnerable, and when one is completely vulnerable, it is easy to get hurt or judged. I feel like many of the more rude characters struggled with this during the beginning of the conference but eventually understood the process and therapeutic effects of writing down their thoughts and feelings. Another message that I received from The Parallax is that sometimes, people transfer their own personal guilt onto others as Frank did with the death of his father onto his mother and his almost-cheating incident onto getting defensive on his wife. In the end, Frank realized this as he yearned to “get things right”. As the conference in this book helped everyone gain a new perspective, reading this book has done the same for me.

  99. I can really connect with this post about the Parallax. Having just lost my grandmother and being one of the only people in my family in the medical field, many responsibilities of her care during the time before her death were placed in my hands. It was really only decisions about comfort measures, but when it’s your grandmother you gain a new sense of responsibility and question your choices. Like this post mentions, there’s a sense of guilt that can go along with that. Even though though we did everything we possibly could, you always have that thought that you wish you could have done more. In a sense, this made me connect with Frank. Especially the part where he feels guilty about his father’s passing. Tragedy has a very odd effect on people that only time can heal.

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