Michelangelo said, “Inside every block of marble is the perfect statue; my job is to take away what is not that.”
This quote gives me pause. It shifts my perspective.
Maybe because I have over-filled my schedule at times in my life. I have added without subtracting — said yes more than no. I have wondered what ELSE I should be doing (in addition to what I am already doing) to get me where I want to go. And many of the “additions” have not been things that move me closer to my goals.
This quote reminds me that it’s important to decide what not to do. Because adding can distract me from what’s important. Adding can create more noise and busyness.
And time spent adding is time not spent carving.
“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. (See what I did there?)
I must say that I disagree with Mr. Emerson. I love quotations. Some inspire me, some challenge me, and some help me find the right words when I just can’t seem to find them on my own. Funnily enough I have often quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson himself. And why wouldn’t I? He said some really great stuff (but likely never used the phrase “great stuff” in his speaking or writing…which is kinda my point).
But I digress.
I want to share one of my favourite quotes from the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree, Helen Keller. Helen is quoted as saying, “So much has been given to me, I have no time to ponder that which has been denied.”
Talk about a glass half full philosophy! No sight. No hearing. And yet no time to ponder that which has been denied. Amazing.
When I slip into self-pity or jealousy, I often recite Helen Keller’s quote to help me reframe – to remind myself of all that I have to be thankful for (it’s a long list).
What if we borrowed Helen’s lens on life? What would the impact be?
What would happen if we focused our time & energy on the things that we
DO have rather than focusing on those things we DON’T? (Things: our relationships, skills, passions, talents, accomplishments, resources etc.)
As humans, we are quick to see what’s not working in our lives…what we still need to work on….how far we have to go.
What is already “working” in your life?
What do you have? What has been “given to you” that you can be thankful for?
I sincerely hope that you discover, rediscover or remind yourself of all that you have, and all that you are.
And that your mind is filled with so many of these things…you would have no time to ponder that which has been denied.
You started a new exercise program or diet plan.
Within the week, you missed a workout OR you caved and ate some of those Cadbury Mini Eggs leftover from Easter. (Who can blame you? Those things are like crack.)
Your internal monologue went something like this, “Crap, I blew it. What’s wrong with me? I guess I will start again tomorrow.”
And then maybe, just maybe, you did start again the next day.
Or maybe, just maybe, you felt so discouraged by the failed attempt that you scarfed down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
We are, for the most part, completely oblivious to the subconscious beliefs or thoughts that run our lives: beliefs like, “If you eat something ‘bad’ when you are on a diet, that day is now ruined. It can no longer be a perfect eating day.” So, your options are to start-over tomorrow, or the following Monday (no wonder we hate Mondays), or to accept the lie that you just can’t do it.
Where did this belief come from? I don’t know. But I do know that it’s not a helpful one!
Several years ago I read a book about about balanced nutrition and the author made a statement that stuck with me. He said, “If you make a poor choice, you are only your next meal or snack away from being back on track.”
WHAT?? That’s genius! You mean I don’t have to fall into the trap of eating more crap because I feel guilty for blowing it in the first place? I can hit the restart button with my next meal or snack choice?
This principle, which I am cleverly calling the “You-are-only-your-next-choice-away-from-being-back-on-track” principle, can be applied to EVERY goal we set.
We all make mistakes. BUT…we can minimize the impact by how we choose to respond (phew).