*As Tsar of Russia from 1881-1894, Alexander III’s rule was marked by repression and persecution. Proving that opposites attract, his wife, Maria Fedorovna, was known for her generosity. Once, when the Tsar had signed an order sentencing a prisoner to life in exile, Maria intervened. The Tsar’s statement read simply, “Pardon impossible, to be sent to Siberia.” Maria changed that prisoner’s life by moving the comma in her husband’s order. She altered it to say, “Pardon, impossible to be sent to Siberia.”
Simply by changing the point at which the comma is seen, a person’s life was completely changed. The same goes for our perception. Often, when we are presented with a difficult person or situation, we cannot see anything but the difficulty. If we continued in this mode of thinking, we would surely be stuck – imprisoned in a way – by our perception of the difficult person or situation. When the sentence reads, “Pardon impossible, to be sent to Siberia,” we sentence ourselves to a life in exile. This exile is from connectedness, from relationship, from prosperity, from the Truth of our being.
Nature reminds us how we can adapt and adjust in order to make our way through life less burdensome and more enjoyable. Autumn provides us the following five opportunities for changing our perception – for moving our comma, so to speak:
Autumn is certainly an invigorating time of year. It’s a time to begin reflecting on our accomplishments of spring and summer. It’s a time to plan our holidays and begin thinking about what a new year will bring. By using the lessons of autumn – seeking out the beauty, switching the routine, observing from a detached, yet invested viewpoint, finding the gratitude, and using our light wisely to shine on what is most important – we can change where our comma – or our perception – lies in the sentence of our life. By changing our perception, we can change our sentence from a life of exile – “Pardon impossible, to be sent to Siberia,” – to a life of pardon – “Pardon, impossible to be sent to Siberia.”
*Sources: biography.com and Today in the Word, July 14, 1993.