Monday, November 1, 2010

Stepping Back

Life is busy for most people these days. It's easy to get your nose stuck to the ground and only pay attention to what's directly in front of you. I find this especially true when the world is making hundreds of demands on me and there is no time to stop and assess where I'm going with all this rushing and doing. It's times like these when I find it especially important to STOP and STEP BACK!

The delusions of urgency that grip so many humans can prevent us from looking forward, from taking a moment to breathe, and to look into the future and consider the consequences of our present decisions and actions. Yes, I believe like many of you, we only can live in the "now", in the present moment; and yes, it is good to live in the present, yet at the same time it can be equally important to see what lies ahead and set your sights accordingly.

My good friend in Santa Barbara, Renee, once told me, "Put your hands up in front of your face. What do you see?"

"My hands," I replied.

"Ok, now move your hands 6 inches away from your face and tell me what you see," Renee said.

"Well, I can see a little bit of the room, especially in my peripheral vision," I said.

Renee said, "Good, now move your hands out as far away from your body as possible. What do you see now?"

I replied, "I see the wall, the door, couch, painting on the wall, my dog, and you."

With this simple exercise she showed me I was too focused on the problem and perhaps I needed to step back away from the 'thing' I was looking at in order to see the bigger picture. She taught me that if my focus was directly on the 'issue at hand' and not on the whole story, I might miss the opportunity to see what was right in front of me. I've repeatedly found this to be true.

Although few of us can predict the future with any absolute certainty, we can see with greater clarity what lies ahead. I recommend taking a few moments everyday to pause, with intention, and step back a bit and look forward. It's only when we stop and look beyond what is directly in front of us that we can get a glimpse of what's to come. Then we can set our intentions and organize our plans in accordance with what is ahead.

May we all have clearer vision!