Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Look Up!

Most of my rehab for the sprained ankle is focused on balancing exercises. The very first thing I did was balancing on my bad leg, standing on the floor, for as long as I could. Once I started getting that down, I moved to things like balancing on objects of varying size and stability. Since then, we've added catching and throwing a tennis ball, and jumping/hopping without falling over.

At one point, the girl who was supervising my rehab pointed out that I had been looking down most of the time, and suggested that I try looking up while balancing. I did, and it made a big difference! All of a sudden, the tasks I was slowly mastering became a lot more challenging; even though I didn't understand why it was so, I knew it wouldn't be enough to continue the way I had been going - in order to get better, I would need to accept the change and step up my performance. 

I realized that the principle generalizes pretty well to where our focus is as we go through life. It can get boring and occasionally frustrating over the summer when I feel like all I do is get up at the same time every day, say goodbye to the sun for 8 hours as I go to work, and then get home again in the evening with a few hours before bedtime. But when I get my nose and downcast eyes out of the daily tasks and drudgery and look up, it's easier to pass the time. Looking up for me means to stop focusing on the little things in front of my face. It means to enjoy the bigger picture. In the summer job example, it could mean planning to do something with friends on a Friday night, looking forward to my day off, or even just appreciating how beautiful the western mountains look in the pink light of sunset. It takes effort, and it takes practice.

There is a balance - because sometimes we do need to watch our feet and pay attention to the smaller details - but learning to look up is a crucial step in living a happy life. Choosing to shift our gaze higher might be hard sometimes, like it is when I learn again how to balance on an injured ankle, but it makes us stronger and is significantly more enjoyable. Paying attention to the big and little things makes life more complete. Learning to look at my own life the right way (which is, Christ's way) helps me to feel much more peaceful and happy :)

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