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Challenge: WHO Are You?

Taking a Step Back and Appreciate the Full Picture

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I might be well-educated, with a few degree certificates on the wall to prove it, but nothing prepared me for motherhood. No book I read in preparation of impending parenthood hit home like the reality of parenting has done.

The truth is it’s hard, hard to be a full-time career, healer, psychologist, bodyguard, protector, and so much more to a fully-formed human life for whom you are entirely responsible for getting to adulthood in one piece.

The responsibility can sometimes overwhelm me. But I have learned a thing or two along the way. It might’ve taken me a while, but I’ve learned the importance of focusing on the ‘bigger picture.’

Those pesky details

Life, they say, is like a tapestry. As a whole, it presents a picture that makes sense to us. But look a little closer, and we see how the bigger picture is made up of hundreds and thousands of tiny stitches. These myriad details work together to create a larger picture that is coherent and recognizable.

The trouble is, the details of life can overwhelm us to such an extent that we lose sight of where we’re actually headed. Take last Thursday, for example. It’s like I got up on the wrong side of the bed or something.

One of those days

From the word go, everything went wrong. The kids started arguing before school, both imploring me to find some or other essential item that they couldn’t possibly go on without.

My husband lost his keys, the washer/dryer stopped working mid-cycle, I suddenly realized the kitchen cabinets needed a serious clean, and my car wouldn’t start. And this all before 8.30 in the morning.

It was turning out to be a really bad day. But things got worse, and by the end of the day, I felt as though my head was spinning. I felt thoroughly miserable. But when dinner was over, and the kids were in bed, I had a few minutes to think through the day that had been.


As I reflected on the various near-disasters that had happened that day, I automatically started to slow down my breathing. A few years ago, before I had kids, it got it into my head that I needed to become a yoga teacher.

I immersed myself in all things yoga and completed a yoga teaching training course. It was exhilarating at the time, but as life happened, yoga slipped off the priorities list, and I fell out of love with it.

But there are a few things that even at my most inactive I instinctively do that still relate directly to yoga. One of these is paying attention to my breathing. So, as I sat there, I deepened and slowed my breathing until I was feeling more relaxed and focused.

A change of focus

Then, when I was a feeling a bit less stressed, I gently turned my thoughts to the bigger picture. I tried to clear my mind of the clutter of the day, all the details that went into making the day so difficult.

I started to think about the broader narrative of our family’s lives: my kids are healthy; my husband and I both have jobs; we are sheltered and fed. In the greater scheme of things, we have much to be grateful for. And so, I opened up my journal and, once again, made a list of all the things I was grateful for that day.

I took my focus away from the niggly, annoying problems that had occurred, and I pulled focus until I could see the bigger picture, and got a whole new perspective.

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