There have been many times in my life when life has thrown a curve ball my way, but I’ve always known what was important to me. Like the first time I caught the bus home from school in my first year of primary school. As I hopped off the bus after a long day at school, I saw my Mummy standing on the other side of the road, waiting for me. Feelings of joy washed over me as I saw her. I ran to her, longing to be in her arms again after a big day at school.
Only thing was, I didn’t know how to cross the road. All I saw was my Mummy, not the local Policeman driving his car down our street. I can still hear the screech of the tyres from his car. I think at the time it gave my mother and the Policeman more of a fright than me. But all I cared about, at the time was a cuddle from my mummy, I had missed her all day. That’s what was important to me at the time, regardless of any other obstacle that came my way – even the car.
Sometimes obstacles just get in the way of achieving our goals, like the mundane everyday tasks. I really hate the washing – it never ends, it sits in a pile like a skyscraper of clothes in my lounge room regularly. But it is a necessity and has to be done. Other times, these obstacles can serve to focus us on what’s really important. Like a near-death experience.
I try to find what’s important on a daily basis, what my priorities are and why. What makes it important? How does it affect my life and in what way? A cuddle from a loved one is still at the top of my list. To be loved, to give love and feel love is an important aspect of life for me. Something I would dearly miss if I didn’t have it.
A very wise man (my husband) once shared an excellent analogy for life and what’s important. It’s one that we both live by and regularly revisit. Checking with each other to make sure we are on track for what’s important to us, even when the obstacles come flying our way.
Imagine a vase. If you fill your vase with large rocks, is it full? No, there are still some spaces between the rocks. So you fill it with smaller stones, is it full? No. So you fill it with tiny pebbles. Is it full? Almost. Then you fill it with sand. Is it full? Yes? No, not really there is some room left. Then you fill it with water. Now it is full. There is absolutely no more space left inside your vase.
Life is the same as the vase. We fill our lives to the brim with all sorts of things – work, family, friends. How much can you fit in? If we fill it with what’s important, then the obstacles won’t really matter so much. I don’t always get it right, none of us do, we are human after all.
But what matters is that we take the large rocks first, these are your most important things. To me, this is family, friends and health. Without good health, I cannot be the person I want to be, both for myself and for my family and friends. I can’t help anyone else, and I can’t enjoy the time spent with them.
Then next comes the other more significant things in my life, my smaller stones. My career, home, finances, hobbies, the environment, how I can make a difference in the world. Then my pebbles, the smaller things in life, then the sand – even more minor things, and then finally the water – I would safely say that this is the washing!
Our life is the same as the vase if we fill our lives with the small stuff first, we quickly run out of time for the most important things. Then, when the obstacles come our way, it makes it even harder to find the time and the silver lining while there’s so much water overflowing. And we sink.
So, what do you need to put into your life first to make sure that it fits? Can you name your big rocks? And how can you still find the silver lining when obstacles come your way?
By the way, I still love a cuddle!