See The Forest And The Trees

Back in November I was out for an early morning hike. Choosing a new trail, I found myself winding up through a misty and mysterious oak woodlands. Near the top of the ridge I came around a bend and out of the forest into an open meadow. The trail was pitted with gullies and holes forcing me to watch the ground as I walked to avoid tripping or turning my ankle.

This rocky trail led down and just as it was about to lead me back into the cover of the Oak trees, I felt the urge to stop and look around. Looking up I saw, spread out below me the most amazing view of Santa Rosa I had ever seen. I was looking down upon the city from a new perspective.

There was a ridge of hills off to the Northwest that I had never seen before. A bank of fog stretched from far western edge of the city out to the coast and beyond. Behind me, the sun was just beginning to peak over the ridge. Its rays illuminated the fog bank and highlighted the tops of the tallest trees down below. It was spectacular.

And I had been so caught up in watching where my feet were going that I would have walked right on by without ever seeing it.

I was reminded of a post I had read a few days earlier at the Glittering Muse on Keeping Your Sites High. And more recently, my encounter with a Red-Shoulder Hawk touched on a similar theme.

Whether hiking or walking through daily life, it is so easy to get caught up in where to place our feet. Many people, myself included, tend to focus so completely on the tasks in front of them that they lose sight of the bigger vision. Without that vision, the tasks become meaningless and work becomes a chore.

When you are caught up in the daily tasks of life, remember this quote, most often attributed (in varying forms) to an anonymous source:

A task without a vision is just a dream.
A vision without a task is just work.
A vision with a task can change the world.

We must balance our grand, long-term vision with our attention to the details and day-to-day tasks. We must immerse ourselves in the daily and also take the time to walk up the hill for a different perspective, to get the overview, the long view, the view of where we are going, what we are creating.

When you find the balance that is right for you, your movement towards your vision becomes unstoppable.

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      5 Responses to “See The Forest And The Trees”

      1. Desiree on December 18th, 2006 9:37 am

        Great post and very very true! Love the quote!

      2. Edward Mills on December 18th, 2006 9:45 am

        Hi Desiree. Thanks for the comment. I love that quote also. It’s so simple and yet has such power. A great combination!

      3. Evolving Times » Spring Is Right Around The Corner: Are You Ready? on February 8th, 2007 11:09 pm

        […] too late. Here are a few Evolving Times posts that can help you create a clear compelling vision: See The Forest And The Trees Dreaming Big Living Large in 2007 I Have A Dream – Martin Luther King and the Law of […]

      4. John on September 8th, 2007 3:00 am

        Nice post, it is so common to get caught up in the day to day life without even noticing the weeks, months and years as they fly on by.

      5. Edward Mills on September 8th, 2007 2:45 pm

        Hi John. Yes, I have to consciously remember this myself. Often! That’s probably why wrote this!

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