Everywhere you look there is color thanks to the spring showers and nature’s flower template. It’s also a time to enjoy a walk in the woods to look for the elusive morel mushroom. Recently while visiting my parents I took off on a hike to review the possible hiding spots I remembered from my childhood. While trapesing through the fields to the woods, I encountered the red and white faces of the cattle that had also brought much joy through the years. When my search ended, empty handed, I returned to tell the story only to discoverer the cattle were not to be in that field. Working with my father and his quick whistle and a bucket of grain, the cattle were quickly moved to the correct pasture.
The next morning, Dad and I walked the fence line, searching for the spot where they made their great escape. I was focused on the fence. At each post I tested the wires and mended a couple as needed as I went along. I walked the entire fence with no notice for the spot they escaped, but I could tell you every place that I fixed. Dad walked behind me and found it quickly, he asked “didn’t you notice the footprints on the other side or the mud on the strand of fence you fixed?”
Here’s my lesson for the day. I was so focused on the fence posts and the stands between the posts that I failed to notice anything else around. How easy it was to become so focused on a particular part of the issue that I failed to gather information that would have made the solution much easier. Life, is all about the perspective we take. In her article "Life is How You See It" , Donna Labermeier shares her take on how you and I might make our lives a little easier. How we see things today, depends on our perspective. Combine that with our values, experiences and other variables in our lives and we may tend to rush through day to day activities with an intense focus, to just get this task done.
There are mounds of research on right brain thinking, or big picture thinking as a way to solve our problems that extend way beyond this article. It also reminds me on the topic of Mindfulness; or being present in the moment and really paying attention to those sights and sounds around you, not just charging ahead to get it off of your list. In either case, what I did realize is that Dad’s sage advice to pay attention to the signs around me, will help me save time and do the job correctly, the first time.
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.