31 May 2011

The Forest and the Trees, Day 1

First, let me say thanks for your comments on the watercolor socks! I love reading your notes - each one brings a smile to my face.

Sunday's sunset

My yoga instructor always brings an intention and focus to our practice for the week, and this one really struck home: she invited us to think about seeing "both the forest and the trees."  Gosh, that phrase is deceptively simple, but the challenge it represents has been stuck in my head ever since she said it!

It's all too easy for me (and I know for many of us) to get caught up in the nitty gritty details of daily life

  • a to-do list for the day, 
  • a single unpleasant experience that becomes distracting, 
  • frustrated expectations of myself or others, 
  • even positive events that become false beacons of "this is the thing in my life that is good"

and direct most of my energy towards these concerns.  The trees are in focus (oh boy, are they ever), but the forest is completely lost.

Gus, a master of relaxation

On the other side of the coin, sometimes the big picture absolutely overwhelms my ability to give any attention to details.  I'm so concerned with these monumental goals

  • a 5-year plan for my career and home and future family, 
  • a particular vision of what my life ought to look like, 
  • or some image of myself and who I'm "supposed" to be 

that I don't give any attention to everyday things unless they fit in with that bigger picture; trees that are actually good landmarks and indicators of how my life is (and of how good my life is) right this minute just don't seem to matter unless they're pointing down the path I think I'm supposed to be following.

weekend knitting - more details soon

Obviously, seeing "both the forest and the trees" would be ideal!  So this is my challenge for the week, and you're welcome to join me.  Each day until next Monday, I'm going to be taking 10 minutes at the end of the day to re-focus on the REALLY big picture, not just the 5-year plan, but the picture of my life as it is right now and how its contours reflect or don't reflect my commitment to living authentically.  At the same time, I'll be on the lookout for those trees (people, events, surprises, anything!) that are actually serving as landmarks in my life, that are marking where I am rather than where I think I "ought" to be going.

I have no real idea of where these reflections will take me, but that's partly the point of the whole thing, and I'm excited about this mini journey.  I'll share my findings here starting tomorrow, and I'd love to hear what you come up with if you decide to take up the challenge, too.


Julie said...

It's always good to have a bit of a plan for where you want to go and how you think you might get there. Of course there are always things that happen along the way, but I like the feeling of accomplishment of working towards goals.

Allison said...

Julie, I totally agree with you! I love being able to set and accomplish mini goals, maybe something on the scale of a week or 2-3 months, leading up to a larger success. Right now it feels like my "big" goals are sort of vague and also weirdly limiting, so I should do some refocusing to make plans that are specific and realistic.

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