Change of season often brings with it just that…change. The easy going energy of summer and transitionary time of fall have passed and we often find ourselves busy with routine once again. Amongst the winter season brings physical and emotional stressors…particularly the months of December-February. Kitchener Waterloo is a busy city with very busy people. I see many people in my office trying to juggle a lot and often come in when the stress has become too much, resulting in anxiety, depressed mood, insomnia, etc. For many, prioritizing self and our health can be tricky when so much is asked of us.
It’s a time to ensure care for self is a priority as this season often brings increased expectations and busyness.
I once heard this great story about a teacher from an elementary class who wanted to remind his students about the importance of priorities. Apparently this is a true story.
Each kid was given:
- a gallon jar with the lid
- a pile of sand
- 4 large rocks
- a pile of gravel
- handful of little rocks
- a pitcher of water
The teacher asked the students to fit everything into the jar and they attempted to do so. Many combinations were tried but after 10-15 minutes they gave up, saying it was impossible. The teacher then showed them how to strategically fit everything into the glass jar, proving it wasn’t impossible. First the large rocks went in, staggered upon each other. Next were the little rocks, that fit in between the empty spaces, then the gravel, then the sand and finally, the water. Each smaller item filled the spots that were left open and finally the lid was put on.
The teacher then shared with his class, the point of the exercise: Life is always going to be very full…with demands and expectations from various areas of ones life and our job is to figure out what the ‘big rocks’ are and ensure they are a priority.
I was told this story about 25 years ago and have remembered it. As I have grown, the prediction of that teacher proved true – that life is full with expectations coming from so many places. But when I have identified what my ‘big rocks’ are and ensured they fit into my jar/life first – everything else seems to sort itself out. The key for me though, was remembering that my ‘big rocks’ change from time to time….some weeks/months demand something different where a former ‘big rock’ has needed to become a ‘small rock’ in this analogy.
This simple example reminded me that there needs to be fluidity in our lives with our goals/ideals. Life is full of varying experiences and we need to support ourselves amongst that diversity.
I hope this simple story is helpful, reminding you to honour what your ‘big rocks’ are and knowing that nothing is set in stone, per say…things can change from time to time. But give space for honouring them and seeing if everything you desire fits in the jar more easily and readily thereafter.
Amanda Cressman, N.D. Naturopathic Doctor