The Big Picture

Last night I attended my husband’s holiday choir concert.  There is nothing more attractive than watching your husband lead a choir so I look forward to each one of these concerts throughout the year.  This one I was especially attached to though since I had spent time with his 8th grade treble choir choreographing, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”  I pulled out all of the stops for these girls.  We pulled them off of the risers, had them change formations, and even created Santa’s sleigh with some of them playing the reindeer, others the passengers and my husband in the middle holding the reigns as Santa Claus.  For only three 45-minute sessions with them they were fantastic and I was incredibly proud of the work they had put into it.

When the lights came up the lady sitting next to me recognized that I was the choir director’s wife.  She smiled and said, “My daughter told me they were dancing, but I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal!  I feel like I didn’t see everything because I was so focused on watching her.  I think I missed seeing the big picture.”  I quickly told her we had video taped it and would probably post it somewhere so there was no need to worry, she could watch it again.  She thanked me and headed out to find her daughter.

But I couldn’t help but thinking about what she had said when I woke this morning.  How many times are we so focused on something small that we no longer see the big picture?  Not that I think that the woman next to me was in anyway wrong.  She should have been focused solely on her daughter in that moment.  But sometimes we can be get trapped by focusing solely on our feelings, our busy life, or our perceptions that we are no longer considering the whole of it all.  We have lost the big picture.

Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t focus on the small things I’m just saying that there probably is more to it.  You might be completely focused on how someone hurt your feelings, but you have yet to try and understand why they might have said or done what they did.  Or you may be so tuned in to the day’s events that you are not realizing that you’ve made yourself busy to avoid thinking or dealing with an uncomfortable situation.

This is also true in your yoga practice.  We get so hung up on the little things.   How many times have I witnessed a student concentrating on the small parts of a posture, such as bringing the hands together in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, when they aren’t even doing the main part of the posture, which would be getting the forehead to the knee?  Too many to count.

And how many times do we focus on that one posture or one thing that isn’t going right within our practice?  We swear we’ve come to a plateau, that nothing is progressing, that no changes are being made, and all of this because one posture, or one element of a posture, has yet to be achieved.  What about all of the work that you put into your 90 minute practice day after day?  There is no way the body cannot change.  But you are focusing on something small instead of the big picture.

The big picture includes how each time you show up to class you are grasping for better health, better emotional stability, and a way to deal with the stresses of everyday modern life.  The yoga is intended to heal you physically and rebalance your body, so that you can live a full and active life long into the future.  So when you become bored or frustrated with your practice take a step back.  Look at what it adds to your life and think about what may truly be getting in your way.  It is probably something small and you don’t want to sweat the small stuff.  You want to sweat for the entire 90-minutes. 🙂

What have you focused on that you realized later was just a small part of something much bigger?


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9 thoughts on “The Big Picture

  1. I great post – I agree about the big picture. I recently began T’ai Chi again (I’ve practiced on and off for about 22 years) and it’s interesting when you start class with people new to the practice b/c they constantly WORRY about every little thing. When the whole point of the moving meditation is to just do it again. Nothing has to be perfect – and it won’t be – the point is to do it again and again and then some more after that – b/c with each repetition you change. At times you are thinking about hands or feet but typically if you just move less your body does what it needs to – because like Yoga, it’s functional movement. I have been thinking of how both are similar and different…yet overall, it’s about the big picture of just doing it again. That’s why it’s called a practice.

    My thought about concentrating on putting your hands together when you’re not touching your head to your knee struck a chord with me b/c there are times in that pose that putting my hands together is what I can do – and I concentrate on that because it is making a difference in my overall posture – I know my forehead is not even near my knee on one side so I do what I can around that move to help me make changes. But I know what you meant with your observation, it’s just funny that it’s exactly one that I think about – but completely differently.

    So many of us cannot see the forest for the trees – we get caught up in the details – and some of us can’t see the trees for the forest b/c we cannot look beyond the big picture. Balance always seems to bring the most relief. Know when to step back and when to move in for a closer look!

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