This idea, used plenty over the past decade, of a hand in front of ones face insinuating a closed perspective and that by spreading fingers and then, even moreso, moving the hand back so that your view or perspective increases to take in the big picture, is a typical paradox. Like so many great ideas or analogous presentations it risks overkill.
Balance as always is necessary if we are to extract the best from each extreme. My manager used to tell me often “context is everything Johnny” and there’s no doubt in my mind as to the accuracy of this statement. After all, physical existence is in itself, a paradox that is consumed in a mosh pit of duality. Without context, we have no basis for comparison, no sentence with which to derive literary meaning of words we don’t understand, and no standards that we may judge ourselves against in order to rate our own performance or quality in this life we live.
But, the challenge lies in the exclusiveness of any concept. A favourite quote I was given by a counselor many years ago was:
Comparison is the first ally of depression
And so one might come to think, that the small picture, the one which we see with a closed hand fair in front of our face, has its benefits. Especially when we consider the pressure placed upon us by the social construct to be someone or something? Teenagers have to have aspirations and hi IQ apparently, not to mention a gamut of friends and popularity, plus great looks to boot. Men cannot suffer depression or if they do they must recover quickly so it seems. And woman are forced into the challenge of worthiness supposedly being measured only by youthful looks and/or behaviours. It truly is a jungle out there if you’re a follower. But for the Rebel? Well, the so-called “limited” view may have it’s advantages.
Imagine if we have a limited amount of energy within us. And I for one subscribe to such a thought, whether it is replenished daily or weighed up over the course of a life. The idea that we might use said energy at any given time and focus it on a particular desire, aspect, or goal, means a greater result than say, unfocused and sposmatic energies applied inconsistently at best. When you take a magnifying glass and use it to focus the sunlight (something most boys did at least once in their childhood) it becomes intense both in heat and in light, yet the area it can affect is remarkably small by comparison to the unfocussed sunlight from the sky.
Notice how, at no point, are we negating the quality, purpose, or benefit of any of these potentials. In fact, each has its own place. To consider either of them less than the other or, without its place in the big picture would be detrimental and inaccurate when truthfully, each needs the other to exist. Importantly, one of them requires exclusive focus for a concentrated period.
So that in life, we can take this example and apply it for our own benefit. Because sometimes, we need to step back, it’s healthy and it’s useful. Focusing our energies all the time can result in burnout at worst and at best, a distorted perspective that fails to recognise the all important context we spoke of earlier. Without context after all, we can never understand or appreciate how the focused work we do fits into the greater scheme if things.
On the other hand If we are so “stepped back” we may never step in and if we never focus it will remain unclear as to how creative we can actually be. Our capacity is of course unlimited but reaching that level does not happen overnight, we work too hard against it living the way we do in the modern world. Conversely, aware people, those with some insight at least, will know that we can improve, and do so every single day. Focused efforts in creating that which is desired can have incredible benefits to the psyche, to physical health, and to seeding further spontaneous creative endeavour and confidence – when it is balanced.
Finally, an important distinction that needs to be mentioned is this:
Stepping back is NOT the same as stepping out.
Sometimes, we have encouraged or supported people to step out. When a situation they are in, with another person or persons, is intense to the point of challenging health and emotional well-being, removing oneself from the situation is in the first instance, mandatory. A heated argument for example, never supports a healthy outcome, walking away until a better time for conducive talks, is healthy and proactive – better for everyone.
With stepping back however, sometimes the opposite is true. Sometimes when a person is anxious, overwhelmed with how much there seems around them in their life, stepping in can resolve said issues. For stepping in can take away so much peripheral (often superfluous) knowing only to well that what is left is the most important thing currently to you. And this is the thing which requires your focus for that time (for now), exclusively, intensely, for a short period.
Keep balance in mind, it is achievable. And while there is no right or wrong, sometimes you need to go counter-intuitive and STEP IN when the thought wouldn’t ever naturally arise. There will always be extremes in this life, it’s what we do and it’s how we do it, but remember those extremes have no quality unto themselves. What we do, as always, is our most important choice. So don’t just choose balance, go hard, do your best, and instead, choose …