Life can be hard, and that’s very normal to feel. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day challenges and to lose sight of life’s bigger picture. The concept of “zooming out” offers you a powerful perspective that can help you navigate your journey through life with peace and appreciation. In this article, we will dive into the practice of zooming out, with practical examples and a guided exercise for you to reflect on the fleeting nature of life, discover what truly matters, and make the most of your existence on this planet.
Reminder of Fragility:
Life is delicate and fleeting. We are all here on this planet Earth for a limited time, and one day, our time will come to an end. Acknowledging the fragility of life serves as a reminder for us to live each day with gratitude, embracing the present moment, and making choices that align with our values. Of course, life can and will be hard, and the day-to-day challenges can be really hard to bear through – but always remember, there is so much power in our own minds that can change our day-to-day experience and perspective. Let’s start exercising that power with the following exercise.
Guided Exercise – Zooming Out:
Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can reflect without distractions, ideally outside if the weather is nice. Maybe it’s in your backyard, as you look up at the sky and trees. You can even take a walk around your neighborhood if you prefer. Take a few deep breaths to center yourself, and then embark on this guided exercise.
- a) Look up at the sky and look at the clouds – and imagine yourself floating above the Earth, observing it from a distance. Feel the vastness of the planet and of our universe and the interconnectedness of all living beings. You exist. You are part of this world – and how lucky are we to get to live and breathe, experience the sun on our faces, and hear the birds sing. Take a moment to reflect on the wonder of life. How do you feel? What are you grateful for?
- b) Now, look for an old, tall tree – imagine that this tree was here before you were born. And maybe this tree will still be standing, even after you have left this world. Take a moment to realize how your life is ultimately not permanent. If you were not guaranteed a tomorrow, how would you live today? How do you want to show up today, mentally and emotionally? What do you hope to feel and think?
- c) Next, look for an animal, perhaps a bird or squirrel. Really observe this animal, and what it’s doing. Maybe it’s resting and being still. Maybe it’s eating some food and walking around. Observe how content the animal is. One day this animal will also no longer be on this Earth – but while it is here, it’s living every day calmly and peacefully. While you may not feel like you have much in common with this animal, think again. What can we learn from our fellow animal friends about life?
- d) Now, think about the passing of time. Look at your phone and notice the minutes going by. Watch the clouds pass by, and the shadows around you move as the sun crosses the sky. In a matter of hours, this day will be over. And once the day is over, you can never get it back. How precious are your days, your hours, and even your minutes? Does the feeling of time passing make you want to treasure each moment?
- e) Ask yourself: How do I want to show up in the world today? Yes, there will be stressful situations and challenging circumstances. But do I want these external pressures to dictate my happiness and well-being for this whole day? You can get through a tough moment, and after that tough moment, find things around you to be grateful for. Bad moments don’t have to make your whole day bad, or make you feel badly indefinitely.
- f) Take a few moments to reflect on this guided exercise. Write down your thoughts, your learnings, and what you are grateful for.
By practicing the art of zooming out, you can gain a broader perspective on life, embrace gratitude, and live with intention. Remember that life is a gift, and each day is a precious opportunity to make the most of your existence. So take a step back, appreciate the wonder around you, and choose to show up in the world in a way that aligns with your values and brings you joy.