The forest and the trees
It’s easy to get lost in the big picture. It’s easy to get so focused on where you are going you forget to look and appreciate where you are. Where would we be if not right where we stand? Don’t mistake looking forward as a reason to not focus on the here and now.
I didn’t write this, but upon reading it, I couldn’t help but appreciate and self-reflect on reminder to be mindful of the now, giving it the respect and honor it deserves, and holding it in my heart as I look towards the what will be. May this offer you, too, a moment to reflect.
Don’t miss the trees for the forest
~ Spencer Sekulin
When were your happiest moments? For me, they were the ones in which I was present, totally lost in my senses — moments of hearty laughter with friends, moments surrounded by nature, moments of complete immersion in the smell of food and the gentle hum of background music, moments of feeling the texture of the pages of a book while I read, moments of watching snowflakes sauntering gently downwards like the white petals of cherry blossoms.
Life is short, a precious and fragile vessel filled with ever-ebbing water, and oh how easily it can shatter. No matter who we are, no matter what our plans for the future, we can all exit life at this moment. At any moment. There is no telling of our end — no certainty. There is only the present, and all of its immediacy. No matter where you’re heading, your five- and ten-year plans, however necessary, do not preclude the importance of where you are right now — for where you are is indeed the only place you can be. So wherever you are, it helps sometimes just to stop, take a minute, and give yourself the gift of this moment. You can do it right now. Plan your plans, dream your dreams, let the future be a promise, but don’t forget today. And don’t forget the importance of noticing it as it passes by — for it will pass whether you notice it or not.
We’re so often told not to miss the forest for the trees, but instead, we miss the trees for the forest. We ignore the intricate details of living and laser our focus on the immaterial and superficial. We fixate on the future, chase after wealth, and contemplate all kinds of catastrophic scenarios. We concentrate on the forest rather than the trees — the grand over the small.
So for once, let’s enjoy the trees as well. The forest will be there, but the trees themselves are fleeting. Those passing moments of joy, the small wonders of living, the ‘breadcrumbs of life,’ as John Weiss so eloquently describes them. Those are the trees.
No matter what we want for our future, or what happened in our past, we must remember to appreciate the present as well — that we’re alive, that we’re here, at this moment. The more we let ourselves feel, the clearer we can see ourselves and our world, and the better we can craft a life as opposed to merely drifting through one. That is, to live a fate chosen, rather than one given by default. To embrace the senses, to actually feel them intentionally, and go through a day as a truly feeling creature and not just someone lost in thoughts and actions and hopes and dreams and fears and doubts and worries and plans. To retake a piece of that natural joyfulness of being alive, and therein weave stronger the threads that enable happy living.
So wherever you are, stop and tune in to your senses, and give your body permission to do whatever it pleases. Return to the now. Because how could you ever be anywhere else?