Remember last week I wrote about walking along a beach, picking up rocks and shells from the ocean? The beach treasures we gather are like goals, activities, and wants we collect in a life of endless possibilities. This week, I want to continue the story where I left off: with my hands full of beachcombing treasures.
What happens next?
I take them home, and look for a way to fit them into my life. My intention is to keep them as souvenirs where they can remind me of the fun and openness of the beach. I bring home lots of other stuff, too, like new volunteer roles, sparkling projects, and budding friendships. These are worked into my life differently, but they all must fit into my time in order to keep them.
I’ve tried a few different ways to keep beach souvenirs, but my favorite is to display them in a clear glass container. Usually all of my treasures won’t fit in the container. In an effort to put as many finds as possible in the container, I used to put the small and medium sized things in first…, but then my biggest treasures were always left out.
I tried to shove stuff around, wedging pieces here and there, but the big stuff just wouldn’t fit. The same is true for those many little tasks and distractions we face every day. They can take all our energy and time, leaving no room for more magnificent lives.
If the biggest rocks and shells in my collection are like my most precious relationships and valuable goals, I am leaving the wrong things out. Giving my attention to the little stuff first, means the big stuff doesn’t always fit into my day. Eventually, I realize the volunteer role has become a burden, the project an endless task, and a budding friendship faded before blooming.
How does this happen?
I let the wrong stuff go into my container first, that’s all. It is a simple mistake, one born of an attempt to do the quick or easy stuff first, or a habit of allowing my attention to be distracted, or just plain not being purposeful in my actions. I wouldn’t do it on purpose, and maybe you don’t do it at all, but most of us slip up and bog down in the less important stuff on occasion (and even consistently).
I learned if I want to go after something magnificent, I have to fill my container differently.
My container and my time must be filled with the most significant things before continuing to the least. Now I first place the biggest stones and shells, and then move on the middle-sized ones. Lastly, the tiny ones are added. It still takes some sorting and deciding, but it’s worth having a beautiful reminder of both the beach and the big stuff in life.
If the big stuff doesn’t fit in your day, look again at what you give priority. It might be time to rearrange.