“You should look at the big picture.” “Seeing the big picture explains it all.” “Don’t miss the big picture.” We have all heard these or similar sayings. They are meant to help give clarity to a situation that just might not be making sense.
I have tried to always look for the larger meanings in life. I have to admit there have been times in my life when I was not able to understand what was happening and/or why, that looking beyond myself provided some sort of larger meaning. That the obstacle or the pain was actually going to provide some sort of answer in my life.
It was easier at times and much harder at others to get past the things that just did not make sense. The older I get, the more I utilize and appreciate the lessons learned in those darker days. I see a bigger picture in play.
As I continue on my current life path, I find myself struggling daily with an overwhelming sense of constant anxiety. I wake up in the middle of the night to a face soaked in sweat and a racing heart. My stomach is always in some stage of anxiety. I am having difficulty feeling joy even though I clearly see my blessings.
As I laid in bed this morning before the official start of the day, I pondered the bigger picture…the world view if you will. I can say with complete honesty that did not work for me. I just wanted to cry and continue to hide under my blanket. I prayed to God for relief from this constant onslaught of uncertainty and fear.
Then my mind moved to a much smaller place. My efficiency kitchen. I started to think about what I would cook today. My mind traveled to my pantry to see what ingredients I had. I thought about the schedule of preparation. Would I freeze this for later and serve this tonight.
My mind blocked out the noise we hear daily about war, famine, soaring prices, hatred and on and on. I know those problems are all around us. We have to make decisions based on the big picture. But maybe, just maybe, we need a vacation from the big picture.
I saw my day and it was about something I absolutely love to do. Cooking has become my passion. Planning what to make, prepping the food, mixing it up, thinking about better nutrition, storing it and cleaning up. I have developed a complete process for myself that allows me to have healthy home cooked meals every night.
I realize that the above scenario may sound more like a chore than a passion. But for me it is pure love to create food. I enjoy reading and writing. My small picture might include a good book, a cup of oolong tea and a fuzzy blanket or a new journal and a colorful set of pens. Insert anything you love and just focus on it.
I figured I could finish the laundry later, sweep and dust tomorrow, and just leave the other chores somewhere outside my mind for now. I still need to consider the bigger picture but today I want to focus on the small picture. I want to feel relaxed for a change. I don’t want to feel sick to my stomach. I want to feel joy today.
I guess that is what people mean by mindfulness. I’ve read the books about it, tried it but never really got the concept until my prayer this morning. And then it all made sense.
No one ever mentioned that if all you do is look at the big picture, all you will feel is overwhelmed…at least in my case. So from today forward I am going to try to focus on what is in front of me. Not what could appear in front of me, not what is going on over there, not what may happen in a month or a year…just what is in front of me.
Finally I understand mindfulness for me means the smaller picture. I respite from all the many things I have no control over. A vacation from the never-ending to do list. I can actually breathe right now. What a blessing and answer to prayer. What a joy!