Stones, Pebbles, & Sand

Have you heard the metaphor about the stones, pebbles, & sand?  It’s resonating with me on a deeper level because I have friends facing challenges ranging from cancer to damage from a house fire.  This jar is my visual reminder to focus on what really matters.  It has a permanent place on my desk 🙂

The rocks are what matters most. Don't get buried by the sand.

Life is full of stones, small pebbles, & sand.  The stones are the big things that matter most, like our loved ones, friends, spirituality, & health.  The pebbles are the things that are important but shouldn’t take priority over the stones.  These vary from person to person but might include work, hobbies, committees, & other responsibilities.  The sand is all the “filler” like errands, chores, etc…  If you fill your life with sand-sized concerns, you will have no room for the large stones.  But, if you focus on your large stones first, you can add pebbles & sand in measures that are right for you.

Have you noticed how the pebbles & sand-sized parts of your life vie for attention, acting like they are the large stones?  That happened to me today.  As I waited to get word about a friend having brain surgery, someone called to talk about her work-related drama.  It was hard to give “sand” attention when one of my stones weighed heavy on my mind.

Yes, there is sand in our jars, too.  The house needs cleaned & laundry needs washed.   However, when I feel like I’m up to my neck in sand, it’s time to get life back in balance.  Commit to my priorities by giving myself permission to say, “No”.

What are your stones?  your pebbles?  your grains of sand?  Does your jar have the right measure of each for you?




Doing Less to Experience More

I honestly thought I was present in my life.  That is, until I tried to paint Bella Bird, my parakeet, from memory.  Bella came to me months ago purely by coincidence… a lost turquoise blue bird set in the emerald green grass far from any house.  I have no idea how she got there but I adopted her & have loved her ever since.  She’s bright blue with white & black feathers down her back and a white breast with little royal blue & black dots like a necklace around her neck.  Beautiful!

What does this have to do with being present?  Well, I sketched her one evening & decided to take the sketch to work, where I would add color to it during lunch.  I sat with watercolor pencils, a fine tip black marker, & a few brushes, confidently adding the turquoise blue to her feathers as well as other details.  When I took the finished sketch home & held it up near Bella, I had her coloring completely reversed, white where blue should be & vice versa!  How did I not see her when every day she sets on my finger about 3 inches from my face?!

How many times is life like that?  We get so busy with our lists, errands, & so-called commitments that we don’t truly experience our own lives.  I’m obviously doing too many things if I can’t take time to see the world around me.  I’d like to pare down life to the essentials– loved ones, nature, art, & my spirituality.  I want to see.  I want to be present in my own life.