Imagine a world where your perspective is locked downward. Your focus unwavering from the path before you. No break from the reality of unrelenting tunnel vision. The pain in your neck twinges as you march on, hyper-focused on the next step, the next move, the next *fill in the blank*.
We humans are perpetual creatures of habit. We find safety in the ruts we create within our lives, solitude in our reliable routines. While this focus on comfort is endearing, it can also leave us in a state of stuck-ness. Perhaps a reliably consistent theme not only within the therapy room but in my own life is that our gaze can become stuck in a downward glance, comfortable in the discomfort of one fixed outlook.
When I experience this particular sensation of stuck within my own life, my mind wanders to the mountains.
My husband and I share a passion for hiking, particularly in the undulating terrain of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Being that I am a Florida native, navigating precipitous paths is not my strong suit. Funny enough, we habitually place bets on the number of times I am bound to trip prior to any beginnings of a trail. Of course, this sparks the competitive zeal within me, and I find myself hyper-focused on the earth beneath my feet as we begin our march up the mountain.
Unlike the Florida flatness that I’m numb to, these mountains emphatically encourage me to pause and look up. The views, the colors, and the idiosyncrasies tantalize my fixed downward gaze to shift and bare witness to the wholeness of the present moment.
Can you imagine how dull the hike would be like if I never looked up?
Can you imagine how exhausting life could be like if we never shifted our focus?
Our souls rely on these shifts. Our mental and emotional well-beings satiate themselves on refocusing our lens from time to time. It is utterly valid that a particular routine or standpoint is necessary for our functioning within our worlds. The workplace is one situation that demands this often. However, one viewpoint is not necessary for the duration of our days that fade into years. Just as my soul is numb to the beauty of Florida, it craves the reminders to climb out of my rut in the ways I experience my world.
So how can we remain mindful to the vitality of these shifts out of our normative tunnel vision ways we hold onto from day to day?
Do me a favor.
Close your eyes for a moment and let your mind wander to a place you find peace.
Where did it go?
Perhaps it’s your back porch when the sun is tucking itself in for the night. Or maybe it’s the symphony of song the morning birds orchestrate outside your window as you wake up. It could be the experience of going for a jog, sipping on your morning coffee, or reading your kiddo their favorite bedtime story. Wherever your world sheds it’s glimmer of peace, make it a point to check-in with yourself. Relax your jaw, release your shoulders, and fill your belly with a breath. Move your neck from side to side, as it could be aching from the fixed stare at all that lay in front of you.
You will get to where you need to go.
However, the journey is far more radiant if we just remember to look up and bare witness to the wholeness of our present moments.