I recently read a quote from an interview with the great poet William Stafford. It said, “It’s a confirming, satisfying activity to do. And it’s almost devotional. Maybe that’s too strong, but it’s as if a day of my life deserves a little attention from life. It’s my kind of attention to stop long enough, to let the evaluative, the speculative, the exploratory impulses that are native to that portion of my time be manifest in a sustained way so that I can recognize them and get sustenance from them.”
While the honest truth is that I struggled to understand a lot of poetry when I was in junior high and high school, this comment from ol’ Bill Stafford got me thinking, as does his poetry. Whether we are writers, poets, electricians, leaders, students, musicians, baristas, businesspeople, pastors, parents, or engineers, this makes sense. Is it possible that the real stuff of your life, the challenges you face at home and at work or even the most mundane things, could be important enough for you to spend a little bit of that life being intentionally reflective about that life? And, is it possible that giving a little bit of time to actually reflect would help you get it done, be more present, deal with adversity, and find hope in the midst of the real and present challenges of life.
So, here’s a way to measure the extent to which your “life is getting attention from life.”
- Have you documented a list of goals that you want to achieve in the next year including work goals, personal goals, family goals, and spiritual goals? What other categories would you include?
- Do you make space every day that is away from the noise of life?
- Do you have a vision for who you are becoming….that you could tell someone right now, if asked?
- Do you know what you want? What kind of job, family, friends, community, and life?
You don’t have to have all of these answers, but the fact is that if you make the space to think about it, it will make you more interesting and purposeful, and probably a better parent, leader, and person.