If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to what we want to get out of life that we give to the question of what to do with a two week’s vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days.Dorothy Canfield Fisher
“Stop the World! I want to get off!” I screamed in the empty space in my car on the way home from a client. I pounded the steering wheel with my fisted hand. The highway (Pre-Covid) was stop and go, mostly stop, and it was pouring rain. I forgot my umbrella and raincoat that day. The day did begin sunny and after all, I am an optimist. I ended up being wet from head to toe with the addition of having my feet thoroughly soaked from that one singular puddle I didn’t see. It seemed all the radio newscasters talked about were the dismal world affairs.
Just as suddenly as I screamed those words, the sky opened up, as did the freeway. The most amazing rainbow was beginning to form ahead. I took a deep breath, realizing if I wasn’t at this exact place at this exact time, I would never have seen it. Following this rainbow, I made my way home from there easily and effortlessly.
Later that night, reflecting on the day, I remembered the rainbow and smiled. I was grateful I saw it. That is what was important to me in the day.
It reminded me how important reflection is in our lives. Especially reflection that opens us up to the gifts we have experienced and the things we have to be grateful for.
Conscious reflection helps stop those Gremlins and our Monkey Minds and negative thoughts we come up with.
I appreciate the message in Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s quote above. I have in the past spent so much more time to the questions of what to be in action about versus how to just be. I was not able to see that perhaps this wasn’t the best way to spend my life. Perhaps I just needed to stop and reflect instead of continue to check off things on my list of to dos and accomplishments.
I now have a regular reflection time just before bed, or sometimes even in bed. I am not saying I’m comfortable with these quiet times yet, but it is a start.
I try to write during this time, but if that doesn’t work, at least I spend some time just thinking and looking back on my day.
I begin with the question, “What am I grateful for?” I find at least five things that I am grateful for during the day.
I then ask myself, “What was really great about my day?” I find at least one thing even if it’s only that I made it to the end of the day. Some days are like that.
The next question is, “What will I do differently tomorrow?” This is a way to take a look at what might not have worked during my day (the icky stuff) and create a solution that works for me and begins to focus on my vision for tomorrow.
I end with, “How will I be different tomorrow?” This takes a look at how I want to be with my family, friends, colleagues and those on the planet. How do I want to show up in the World. It is a conscious and intentional choice we make.
Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.Peter F. Druker
Written by Pat Obuchowski