Forgive me if Zoom has become a four-letter word in your household. I know some of you may be spending a lot of time using this video conferencing platform while you are working from home or homeschooling your kids. I am grateful that the Big Sky Retreat has been using Zoom for the past 5 years to conduct our monthly board meetings. That gave me plenty of practice before the shelter at home guidelines went into place. I must admit I used to join our monthly meetings using my iPhone while walking along Fort Lauderdale Beach. When I was elected president, it felt like I needed to be home on my computer with the agenda in front of me so I could run the meeting, but I sure do miss the beach walk meetings!
Now, I use Zoom almost daily for Life Coaching sessions with my clients and both of my weekly A Course in Miracles online study groups. I have also started using it for group Family Constellations Workshops and will probably continue to do both virtual and live events once it’s safe to meet in person. I so appreciate this technology that allows us to connect virtually while we are social distancing, even if it does come with some challenges. Those who have been using Zoom a lot will probably find this video quite amusing.
Along with the blessings and challenges, Zoom has provided me with a profound lesson. At the beginning of most meetings, I do a quick tutorial to help attendees who are new to Zoom get familiar with the basics. We discuss things like how to mute and unmute yourself and switch between Speaker and Gallery view. I discovered quickly that how you navigate these settings depends on what kind of device you are using. Since my beach walk meetings ended, I have only been using my laptop to Zoom, so that is all I know.
The button to switch between Speaker and Gallery view is in the upper right-hand corner of my computer screen. That is not the case for those attending with a tablet or smartphone. When I told them to look there for the button, it simply wasn’t there. Since I don’t use a tablet or smartphone to Zoom, I had no idea what to tell them. When I couldn’t help, some well-meaning attendees on iPads tried to tell those on smartphones what to do. Sadly, that wasn’t helpful either. No matter how many times they repeated themselves or how insistent they were with their instructions, due to the smaller screen, it’s completely different and some options are not there.
That’s when I asked my partner to do some Zoom experimenting with me from his iPad and iPhone. He joined a meeting from both of his devices and we discovered together how to do some of the basics. At some point during this process, it hit me what a powerful metaphor this is. If I am not able to see things from another perspective, no amount of repetition will help me understand and resolve a problem with another person. If my only experience of Zoom is on a computer, I can tell a person on an iPad 300 times to click a button in the upper right-hand corner, but if it doesn’t exist on their screen, it won’t help. If that function works differently on a smartphone, we will both end up frustrated, annoyed and no closer to a solution.
It seems to me that’s what’s happening in this country and around the world anywhere there is conflict and divisiveness. We are expecting someone else to see things from our perspective or do things the way we do them, when that may not be an option for them. They may not have the same resources we have or they may see things very differently based on their culture, life experience, or level of understanding. In other words, their screen is set up differently or their device navigates differently. If I never took the time to explore Zoom from another kind of device, I would only be able to assist those who attend my virtual events on a computer that works exactly like mine.
Thank you, Zoom, for giving me a practical frame of reference for this spiritual truth. I hope this metaphor will be helpful to others. I haven’t tried Zoom on an Android or a PC yet, so I still have more to learn!
If I can be of assistance in helping you see things from another perspective, please reach out. I am still doing Life Coaching and private Family Constellations sessions remotely using Skype and Zoom. I understand that many of you have limited resources during this stressful and unprecedented time. During this pandemic I am offering 45-minute Life Coaching calls on a donation basis to help anyone having a hard time finding peace. There is another opportunity to experience a Virtual Family Constellations group session on Saturday, May 9. Click this link for more details or to purchase your ticket at a special price of only $25. Space is limited to 20 participants, so buy your tickets soon!
Until next time, may you find compassion and understanding for anyone who may be using a different device to navigate life.
It must be understood, however, that whenever you offer a miracle to another, you are shortening the suffering of both of you.
A Course in Miracles T-2.V.10.7