Imagine you are a famous painter. You are working on the masterpiece of your lifetime on a canvas the size of a 12-story building. Although a daunting task, you choose to focus on the exhilarating nature of the opportunity. You have the supplies you have experienced needing in past projects yet you know this is unexplored territory for you. You approach this pursuit the way you have approached all other projects, one brush stroke at a time. While the finish product will be a beautiful integrated visual of everything you love in life, it can also be viewed as hundreds of small images. You step up to the blank canvas, ready to let your inspiration take over, and you begin. While you are standing close to the canvas it is as though you are zoomed in to focus on one small part of the bigger picture. You are so focused on the first image that you almost forget that there are hundreds more to complete.
The first image you paint is a sunset – a beautiful recreation of the sunset you witnessed one magical night on a vacation you took a couple years ago. You then walk a few feet to the left and paint an homage of downtown Calgary, as you have spent countless hours in awe of the monstrous buildings that create the unique view you see from your drive into the core from the outskirts. You then climb a ladder to begin painting an image of friends chatting and laughing over coffee at your favorite café in town.
Each image on their own are stunning. You have been so focused, you soon realize that you zoned out for a bit – completely enthralled by the mechanics and birth of color on canvas. You have been so “zoomed in” working on little details and making each image the best they can be. Although you feel some pressure to finish this masterpiece in an impressive and timely manner, you know you need that big picture perspective to truly create the masterpiece you once envisioned.
So you put down your paintbrush. You take several steps back as you focus on your breath and remind yourself to “slow down to speed up” and “enjoy the process” and “it’s the journey, not the destination that matters most.” From this calm and grounded mindset, you turn around to take a look at what you have created so far. You are in awe. Look how far your have come! You see the beauty and the intricate details while also seeing the gaps, the areas that need more time and attention, and the details that will pull the images together.
Before stepping back in, you allow yourself some time to just be who and where you are. You take a few notes to remind yourself of the important things you noticed when you took steps back so that you can integrate these learnings into your action. You acknowledge that even though you are a creative person, you too need inspiration. You know that even though you are a strong and confident person, you too need support and encouragement from those you love. You recognize that even though you are proud to be independent and a leader, you too need to be a learner and a student. And you believe that even though you will experience some rough patches and occasionally lose your way, all you need is to create space for yourself to step back and reignite the passion and purpose that brought that big-picture vision into reality.
As we head into this Holiday season, we need to step back and calibrate. Here are some questions to support your self-inquiry as you engage in mindful maintenance.
1. Where have you allowed one concept or definition about who you are slip into the driver seat rather than embracing the expansive complexity of you as a whole? You are not just ________, you are also ________, _________, ____________, etc. Don’t let yourself fall victim to black and white thinking.
2. What healthy habit has slipped out of your mind that once was serving you well? What will you do this week to bring it back into your routine?
3. What whispers has your body been sending your way that you have not created space for? It’s time to slow down and listen to the wisdom of your body. Sometimes generous listening is all that is needed.
4. Remind yourself: what are your big-picture goals to complete before the end of the year? What actions and reminders will you set for yourself to ensure you are in the process of creating what you desire?
Now step back in and work on that masterpiece. xoxox