Reflection: What do you see when you look around? Burdens and responsibilities or delights and opportunities? And how much of a difference might it make if you could put a little distance between yourself and those everyday demands?
Vacations and time out matter. Not only for the richness of adventure and creation of new memories, but also for the perspective that comes with distance. Re-entry, after a time away, brings with it the opportunity to appreciate everyday life anew.
In our recent weeks of adventuring, we discovered that the Hermitage in St Petersburg holds some amazing artistic treasures. The fields of lavender and sunflowers in Provence are every bit as compelling in person as they are in pictures. The sounds of Paris are like nowhere else in the world – with the wha-wha of police sirens overlaying the bells of Notre Dame.
And now that we’re back, we’re finding that our time away changes our experience of being here.
- I’m loving the smiling faces and hugs of family members whom I’ve missed in our absence.
- I’m savouring time in our garden, and have thoroughly enjoyed weeding, pruning, and bringing order to things gone wild.
- I’m enjoying birdsong from the bluffs on my morning walks along the river – a real contrast to the cacophony of European cities.
- I have found myself to be more patient as I sort through the accumulated mail and email, and more enthusiastic about addressing the work on my desk.
My husband, too, delights in returning to the creature comforts of home – his own bed, bath and coffee.
Life feels like a fresh start with fresh eyes and fresh energy.
Action: Can we hold this level of appreciation for our everyday lives without occasionally stepping away from our everyday routines? I’d like to think we could. However, I haven’t found that to be the case.
Even with the best of intentions to stay awake to the joys of our experience, life has a dailyness that simply wears us down.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take a long time to rekindle that appreciative awareness. Even an afternoon, a day, or a long weekend of pause and distance can shift our experience and bring us back renewed.
What are your step-away habits and plans? How are they serving your well-being and affecting your appreciation of your everyday world?
Quote Of The Week: Nothing changes until you do. – Mike Robbins
Resource Of The Week: My dear friend, Courtney Milne, understood the power of perspective. He travelled the world to photograph its greatest sights and then spent the last few years of his life and career photographing the swimming pool on his own acreage – right outside his back door. He created 45,000 images of the colors and shapes found in that one small space – many of them beautiful abstracts that rival the works of the impressionist painters.
A Pool of Possibilities calendar with 365 images and narratives was one of his last projects. With the gift of his works to the University of Saskatchewan Special Archives, this calendar collection is now freely available to all. This link will allow you to randomly dip into the images, or if you wish to sign up for the daily delivery of an inspiring image and message.
Readers Write: In response to a recent message, Character is Every Bit As Remark-able As Accomplishment, Pause reader MT observed: Our bookkeeper once expressed frustration at how she would put in many hours of overtime so the financial statements would receive a good audit. Yet she would never get direct feedback. As she said, ‘No one is going to get rich being a book keeper, so a pat on the back would make it all worth while.’ I never forgot that and have tried to apply it through out my own career.