Looking down at a forest from an airplane, each tree which would seem very large in person appears to be incredibly small from this sky-high perspective.
Looking back on a year, everything that felt very serious or urgent in the moment can seem much more trivial in retrospect.
This realization can be incredibly freeing, because it means that the majority of what we worried about didn't actually matter all that much, or at least that it was much less weighty than we thought. There are so many anxieties and urgencies we face each day that pull our attention and steal our peace. And yet we don’t even remember the majority of these now. Things are rarely as significant as they seem at the time.
Life has a way of carrying on.
In these moments of urgency and stress, if we dig all the way to the core of our motives we are really only looking for peace, joy, and connection. Aren’t all of our goals just proxies for these three fundamental things? We’re striving for some potential reality where something is different or something is achieved. But peace can only ever be found in the present, and if anything costs you your peace it’s too expensive.
Yearly ends and beginnings offer us perspective and an inflection point; a time to reflect on the deeper meaning of our lives and re-establish what we truly want.
As we return to our daily business, the key is to hold the sky-high perspective in our minds as we walk through the forest. When some stressor arises, we notice the draw toward unrest and for just one breath return our minds to the larger arc of our lives. Then we can address each moment with clearer vision and a steadier hand.
We choose so many other things over peace. It’s always at the end of the list, so we never arrive there — but we can choose peace now.
How can we approach this coming year with an aspiration to really live fully, in the present moment?
What steps could we take so that we could really experience peace, joy, and connection on a deeper level this year?
All the best,
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Self-Reflection - Harvard Business Review
Even if we all agree that reflection is beneficial to our lives and our capability to grow, it can be difficult to know exactly how to reflect if you've never done this before. If you fall in this camp, this piece by Harvard Business Review which asked 422 executives how they reflect and what they learned in doing so is for you. LINK
43 End of Year Reflection Questions to Review Your 2023 - Develop Good Habits
If after the previous article, you're still having trouble coming up with what you should be considering in your year-end reflection, here's a list of 42 concrete things to take into account. LINK
Reflection Is the Beginning, Not the End, Of Learning - Katie Anderson
Remember that your reflection isn't just the end of the year, it's the beginning of a new one. In order to truly take advantage of what you've observed, you must go even deeper and act on this, as Katie Anderson explains. LINK
Featured Art: Fisherman in the Lagoon, Guglielmo Ciardi(1880/1885)