Saturday, July 11, 2015

Appreciating Where We Are

By nature, I am a “doer.”  A typical Type A personality, always ready to go on to the next big thing.  Such a trait has allowed me to do and accomplish many things over the course of my life, for which I am grateful.  Even if not all ventures were successful, I still managed to take away something worthwhile and insightful from the experience.  It also usefully served to give me a career and an income to get through life reasonably responsibly.  The downside, though, is that often I was so busy moving from one project to the next that there was no real time spent appreciating and enjoying what had just been done.

I spent ten years building the spiritual sanctuary in the mountains where I now live.  It was a constant progression from one building going up to starting the next one – planning for the next while the prior was still being completed.  Clearing one meadow in order to clear the next one.  One walking path leading into the next path.  All while concurrently maintaining a fulltime primary career.  It was not until a person finally said to me, “Stop, and look at what has been created here!” that I truly had any real sense of what had been done.  And only then began taking advantage of it and personally enjoying it.  It is a reminder that continues to echo in my mind in the midst of all the continuing ongoing maintenance that is forever to be needed.

We are busy each day doing what is expected of us.  Many of those expectations are ones we have put onto our selves, even though we often attribute them to other people’s demands on us.  A large part of our life is taken up with thinking about tomorrow’s project list, tomorrow’s job assignments, what remains undone for us to complete.

We spend most of our time with eyes pointed to the front of us.  Hikers are focused on the next steps on the trail, leading ahead to the next mountain to be climbed.   Builders are reviewing the next blueprints even as their crew is finishing up work on the current building.  The runner is looking at shaving yet another fraction of a second off her last run time.  And the artist hears the incessant voice in his head constantly nagging, “so what have you done lately?”

We are unceasingly on the go.  We think that that “going” is inherently moving us forward.  But when do we just sit and sink fully into that which we have already done?  Turn off the “I will …” voice and simply hear the words “I did”?

It may be important for us to know where we are going – or at least where we think we are trying to go.  But it is equally important to know where we have already been, and to take proper stock of that “been.”  Because much of where we are going is the result of that been.  We may be enjoying our life journey, or fighting with that journey.  Regardless, taking time to remind ourselves of, and to appreciate, our outcomes along the way is an important part of our journey.  It is not about living in the past or trying to recreate a past long gone.  It is that sometimes the rear view mirror is the true forward view.

©   2015   Randy Bell