Recently Michael and I traveled to San Francisco; four days absorbing the beauty of the bay area. The unseasonably warm weather and dry weather made us fortunate tourists! I imagined that if I lived there, I would be constantly in awe of the beauty and majesty of the mountains and the ocean.
On the flight back home I sat next to a woman who now lives in Minneapolis but is originally from the bay area. She spoke about the beauty of San Francisco and how she took it for granted all the years she lived there; all the years until she moved away.
This got me to thinking about perspective, not only about the differing perspectives on where we live, but about my negative perspective of the near future. Leaving our vacation, the fun we had with family and friends, the beauty of waking up to a view of sailboats, and going back to the real world at home seemed ominous. I felt hurried and felt behind; behind on blog posts, behind on cleaning the house, decorating for Christmas, shopping for Christmas, behind at work – the list seemed long.
I gave myself a little pep talk and thought of three ways to keep things in perspective this season:
- Worrying about not having enough time doesn’t stop time. I can easily become preoccupied with worry about not having enough time to get things done. But no matter how much I worry, it doesn’t help. I have tried to change my perspective from being future-focused and deficit-focused, to believing that there is enough time.
- Inventory the rocks and the pebbles; make a decision to focus on the rocks. This Stephen Covey concept that paints a descriptive picture, of placing rocks of various sizes, pebbles, and sand in a jar. The rocks are the big things in life that need attention; pebbles are the little tasks or minute details that are so easy to get caught up in – especially for women. The jar represents our life. I truly believe it is a decision to make a list and cross off the pebbles. The list of details and tasks that we want to accomplish are often self-imposed. And often no one else notices whether they are done or not.
- Be present in my activities. A lot is said about “being present” these days, but I don’t think a lot of us really know what it means or how to do it. When you’re used to running through life, checking things off the list, always planning for the next thing, you aren’t present. This seems to be the American way. For me, forcing myself to learn how to be present has meant, literally, I stop and think about the experience I’m in. It takes effort and doesn’t come naturally, due to the natural tendency to be future-focused and worry, but it is rewarding.
I hope you give yourself permission to let go of some of the pebbles, to worry a little less, and enjoy a little more this holiday season. You enjoying yourself will bring joy to your friends and family. Happy Holidays!