Thursday, 18 October 2012

Zooming in on our lives

It made a lot of sense as she said it - it can be scary to zoom out.  Keeping things in the day, and focusing on the here and now is a skill that once learnt, can become something of a protective cloak when the bigger picture is perhaps less orderly, and even overwhelming.
A great many of us move through our lives one chapter at a time, turning the pages as we go, and retaining a sense of 'all is well, all will be well', by taking things line by line, with the ability to take things even more steadily, word by word.  We set ourselves objectives, and make plans, but we live looking only just ahead of where we find ourselves. 
There are lots of reinforcers for this approach.  Education for one.  Modules, rather than finals.  Public examinations annually, or even more frequently.  Progressing in a linear fashion.  It all keeps things ticking over nicely. 
Until they don't.  I have come to realise that, for those of us who experience a set-back of a magnitude that throws our worlds out of sync, no matter how temporarily, the aftershock can be radical and profound.  For when we are thrown out of the bubbles we tend to occupy, and forced to acknowledge the bigger picture, we may well be knocked over by the sheer enormousness of that which we are confronted by.  Those big and scary questions make an appearance and with them the potentially terrifying existential dilemmas... 
'Why am I here?'  'What am I doing?'  'What is the point, anyway...?'
It is as though we were gazing at a rug.  Made up of tiny, individual threads.  Together, their differences are indiscernible, we have an experience of the whole as integrated.  Life, when we need to, is to be broken down into the individual strands, as they are more manageable - we can digest these, and make sense of what they represent.  As we zoom out, and take into account the floor covering as a whole, it's easy to get lost. 
Perspective makes a difference.  Sometimes it's important to adapt our viewpoint, to avoid becoming consumed by the landscape of our lives.  As the greatest task we will ever face, why not break it down into bite size pieces.  Just for today.   

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