Suddenly here we are — at the midpoint of the year. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere you might be sinking into the lazy days of summer. In the Southern Hemisphere, I’m hearing of mid-winter Christmas celebrations aimed at keeping the cold out and the fire warm.
Whatever you’re up to, now is a good time to move away from the detail you’ve been stuck in and think about the big picture. Take the eagle as your guide and rise up in your mind until you see the whole landscape of your life in front of you.
The eagle has amazing vision. From way up there on the thermals, an eagle can see everything from the patterns of the winds moving through the atmosphere to the detail of the rabbit moving through the grass. The eagle can navigate the winds of change with mastery. They know how to ride the thermals, catching a lift to higher altitudes. That means they don’t use a lot of effort, skilfully rising up in the sky. They use their effort to target a goal and then commit to it.
Right now is your time of riding the thermals. While your mind is at rest on your holiday, or you take time in front of the fire, zoom out. What do you see? Where do you spend most of your time? Do you like who you are becoming? What’s happened to that dream you used to feel called by? Just like an eagle, get an overall view of the direction of your life.
Remember, it didn’t happen like this all of a sudden, it became like this through all the small choices you’ve made at every moment, through the stories you tell yourself and the actions you take. You are the mosaic artist of your life and sometimes you can’t see what you are creating with all those small pieces until you step back and look at the whole picture.
If you don’t like what you’re seeing, just start making small changes. Even a rocket can’t go directly to the moon, it needs constant small course corrections. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the big — remember you are the master of the small. Small things make big changes. Every time.
A good place to start is with the qualities you bring to your life. Perhaps you’ve noticed that you often make a judgement about a situation so quickly that you are not open to what might really be going on. Maybe that’s gotten you in trouble before — I know it has for me!
The best antidote for judgement is curiosity. Judgement and curiosity can’t exist in the same space. Over time I’ve had to continually teach myself that one of the best tools for curiosity is to ask a question. So many times I’ve sincerely wished I’d asked a question first, rather than painting myself into a corner by making an assumption!
What quality would you like to have more of? Patience? Resilience? Courage? Grace? Focus? Equanimity? Love? Compassion? Wisdom? The qualities you embody make all the difference to how you show up in the world and in the quality of your impact. Choose one and decide to focus on it for the coming week.
Make yourself a list of how this quality can be demonstrated and start practicing. If you want to have more courage, ask yourself what a courageous person would do. Make a list and start trying them out. For example, if you’re feeling fearful, breathe all the way down to your toes. This helps to calm the nervous system and keeps you present. Decide on some actions. One small step every day.
One of the best role models in this area is Benjamin Franklin. As a young man he was clever and arrogant. Fortunately he listened to feedback from friends and worked consistently on himself over time. He did exactly what I am suggesting here, by choosing a list of attributes and working on them a week at a time until he became them. As a result he not only was he known as a multi-talented inventor and made an impact on history, but was universally loved and respected. Add his autobiography to your reading list!
Start small now, master the moment and you’ll see big changes!