I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop this morning preparing to write something about framing when a woman outside caught my eye. She was motionless on the sidewalk of a busy street below where streetcars and heavy traffic move constantly. The scene looked something like this:
My camera shots don’t show everything close by – the woman crossing the street was almost run over by a passing car, a streetcar or two passed, and a bike nearly ran into the woman on the sidewalk. Her world was framed by a device that measures about 2.5 x 5.5 inches. As you can see, she was totally absorbed in it.
We are shrinking our frameworks – and ironically expanding them at the same time. Our phones allow us to go anywhere in the digital universe. The question is whether the digital framework will affect our sense of possibility in the real one.
Most of us have been exposed to the diagram puzzle below where we are asked to connect the dots using only four lines without lifting the pen/pencil from the page.
The square is a shape that we know all too well and the shape suggests a straight-forward solution – except that it takes five lines instead of four. The real solution requires us to move outside the frame.
We can observe that we first focused on numbers and measurement in trying to find the solution. But what we have to do is place the image in a much larger box to see more possibilities
The new frame doesn’t necessarily have to be square. It could be a rectangle or ciccle. It just has to be bigger.
When we look for new possibilities, thinking quantitatively will not always work. Other elements also come into play in real transformation. Moving from one frame to another can depend upon seeing relationships – sometimes with people, but also relationships in a universe filled with “joy, grace, awe, wholeness, passion and compassion” as the writer of The Art of Possibility says. When we expand the frame, it opens up more than we can initially ask or imagine.