I was hiking with my husband one day and stumbled upon a lesson I thought I had already learned. We were walking along, laughing, talking, noticing the beauty of the forest around us. And then I stubbed my foot on a tree root in the path. My head had been up and I had been enjoying my company and the scenery so much I missed seeing the trip hazard.
Determined to make sure my footing was not in jeopardy again, I kept my head down and watched the path as I walked along. As my gaze continued to stay fixated on the ground, I started to notice all the details of the path: flat rocks worn from traffic, ruts in the dirt from bike wheels, colorful leaves camouflaging the twists and turns.
But then I heard my husband’s voice yell out to me, asking if I had seen the beautiful canopy of trees above us.
For a moment, I felt perplexed. How can I prevent myself from tripping as we walk along, but still enjoy my company and he lovely views of the forest? It’s nearly impossible!
And then I realized the beauty of the unique and sometimes painful reality of “living life to the fullest.” Sometimes you miss out on things, and we have to choose what we put our attention to the most.
Think about it: in some chapters of our life, we know we must stay grounded to survive. Our survival and responsibilities, the process of making it through the day. We wouldn’t make it out alive if our heads are always in the clouds daydreaming. We must be diligent, always staying present and watching for any hazards in the path in front of us.
We also have to lift our heads every once and a while to see what’s around us. To appreciate the beauty of the moment and reflect on where we’ve been. We may want to change directions or switch paths. But if we leave our heads up for too long, we risk taking a tumble from an unforeseen road block.
Our sweet spot, the balance between missing dreams and falling on our faces, is to practice keeping our eyes on the horizon of your life. From this balanced position, you can easily glance down to keep your eyes on the path while still observing the big picture in front of you.
In everyday life, this translates to finding the balance between checking off daily details versus taking time to dream big and plan your life. It’s about being in the moment and appreciating the beauty of the process.
Fears of missing out on something can loom heavy in our lives, whether it’s on our “to-do” list or in our dreaming. Which is why it can seem so much more effortless to stay grounded in daily movement or drifting around in our elevated minds.
But when we complete all these steps and day-to-day tasks, what are we really working towards? Is there a moment after everything that can possibly be done is done and we have “arrived” at perfection?
And when you take a step back and think about it, the beauty of life is found in appreciating the process and noting lessons you learn about yourself along the way. Not just dreaming.