Spring Forward, Fall Back

To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. ~ Helen Keller

With Daylight Savings Time approaching, I've become aware of how quickly seemingly "slow" changes can actually occur.  It's kind of a paradox, but the seasons point it out to us each year.  For instance, we tend to dread the approach of winter with it's accompaniment of long nights and shorter days.  But then midway through (right after Christmas or New Year's), the entire process reverses and we suddenly realize that the sun is still out at 6 pm and the days are "slowly" getting warmer.  And with that realization, the last days of winter fly by and we develop a new sense of energy as we happily anticipate spring.  So in the end, the time went by very quickly; but in the moment, it seemed to take ever so long.

When we focus exclusively on what we want and don't have, we end up creating more frustration and anxiety for ourselves.  Like staring at a pot of water on the stove and waiting for it to start boiling — the time seems interminable.  But if we occupy ourselves with other aspects of our cooking, then suddenly the water is boiling and we haven't finished peeling all the potatoes!

There's a balance between too much focus and not enough; and striking that balance can be a hard space to find.  We worry that if we don't focus enough, then we won't achieve the goal.  However, if we focus too much, we become obsessed and that leads to a host of other issues.  Therefore we try to bridge the two worlds, with a tendency to end up like a sailboat that is listing too far to one side and then too far to the other.  As we struggle to hold on, navigate, not capsize or be thrown out of the boat, we miss the view of the world around us.  We arrive at the goal, but we didn't enjoy the process.  So what to do?

I suggest practicing the mantra of "Enjoy first; fix, correct, improve, or change later."  Meaning, take the focus of one's perspective off of the present inadequacies and place one's focus on enjoying that which can be presently enjoyed.  It doesn't mean we'll simply ignore the issues at hand or that the issues will magically go away.  What it means is that we acknowledge to ourselves (by training our minds to realize) "Yes, there are some things that need to be done, however I can still enjoy myself and appreciate those parts that are working just fine."  When we do this, we're reframing our perspective and understanding that there is a time and place for fixing and changing, as well as a time and place for enjoying and not worrying.

Interestingly, when we practice this focus exercise, we bring a new level of gentleness into our lives — a gentleness that we might not be used to experiencing.  And this gentle guidance seems to open up a level of flow in our lives because we allow ourselves to be happier, less frantic and more at ease with "how things actually are" instead of perpetually placing ourselves on "an endless hamster wheel of how we want things to be."  May gentleness be your watchword this spring!