The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. – James Openheim
When you first look at the picture above , what’s the first thing you see? Your answer is probably the stone on the building, the tree’s trunk in the foreground, or the trees in the background. Or, you may be an artistic sort who first notices the colors of the “canvas” before the individual parts.
I love you artsy people.
Then again, you may be like me – such a bona fide animal lover that the first thing you see is the gorgeous white cat. Of course, if you didn’t see her right off the bat, that doesn’t make you any less of an animal lover. She does blend in with her surroundings after all.
Story Behind the Picture
I took this picture a few years ago when we were in the beautiful mountains of Eastern Kentucky. We’d just arrived at Pine Mountain State Resort Park and were taking in the awe-inspiring beauty. The mountains are always gorgeous, but in Autumn, the scenery just takes your breath away.
I was in the middle of taking a lot of pictures of the mountains and trees decked out in their Autumn best when I had the distinct feeling that I was being watched. I knew it wasn’t my husband because he was busy snapping away with his own camera.
Given the fact that I’d already seen several signs telling guests to keep an eye out for bears, the feeling of being watched was a little bit more unsettling than usual.
I happened to look “closer” than I HAD been looking and that’s when I saw the beautiful little white cat. Given the fact that I’d been looking so FAR away I hadn’t seen her before. For an animal lover, like me, her beautiful face trumped everything else.
Then again, I love cats as much as my next breath. I have had at least one (usually 2-4) cats all of my life. I find them to be the most amazing, intelligent, colorful, and joyous little beings God ever created. When I come across one in public, my reaction would lead you to believe I’d just encountered Bigfoot, himself. So the fact that I could have missed seeing this little cutie simply by looking too far in the distance left an impression on me.
When we got back home and I sat down to upload my pictures to my computer, this particular picture made me stop and think. It’s a reminder of something we’re all guilty of from time to time – some more so than others: We often get so caught up in looking “off” into the distance that we miss what’s right in front of us. Whether our eyes are fixed firmly in the future or stubbornly in the past, we’d do well to always remind ourselves to stop and look around in the present.
Who knows what we could be missing?
Because of the effect the picture had on me, when it came time to re-design Self Help Daily, I used this picture as my palette. It reminds me to not only “see” the big picture of life, but to always stop and appreciate the small details – the ones right in front of me.
Ironically, this whole premise goes with my new favorite quote. Not only do I collect quotes, I’m utterly obsessed with them – so I often have a favorite quote “of the moment.” The quote that has been my favorite for some time now is from Thoreau, “Live in the present. Launch yourself on each wave. Find eternity in each moment.” If that isn’t a life-changer, I don’t know what is.
Write it down. Live it out!
... find eternity in each moment. – Thoreau
Joanna Derwent says
I too am a major cat lover (I have two elderly rescue cats, both getting a little frail).
Sometimes we can learn from a dog as well (http://www.theabundanceattractor.com/learning-life-dog/)
Rolandas Malinauskas says
First of all I would like to say thanks for a great post and the lovely quotes – The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. – James Openheim – what utter wisdom. But isn’t it what Western society trains us to do , don’t you think? What would you like to be when you grow up? Where can you see yourself 10 years from now? Do you have a 5 year plan?
Many of us have a lot of mind re-training to do, to be able to live more (or fully) in the moment. However your blog certainly goes a long way to motivate and help us. Thank you! 🙂
Jackie De Burca says
I love what you have written here. I am also a big animal lover, and here’s the funny thing – as I was reading your post and writing this comment, I have my magnificent white cat sitting on my lap. She’s called Tiger. She has a green and a blue eye, just like David Bowie. She’s an amazing character. Animals are, in fact, great teachers when it comes to living in the moment.
Susan Mary Malone says
Thank you, Joi. And funny, the cat truly helped me focus! Now I’m going to “launch myself on each wave.” Ah!
Dineshwar dhadwal says
True!!! everybody should try to live in the present moment. But in today’s world, people seldom live in the present moment. What a colossal waste of time & energy we all do whiling away the present moment either lamenting the past or worrying about the future.
After reading this piece I had to use it as a link on one of my blogs on happiness http://www.bizenlightenment.com/blog/10-habits-of-happy-people/ Indeed we can be happy where ever we are and be successful too. Like the wise man who grows happiness under his feet. We have become too preoccupied with things that are far off when in fact we should be looking inside. Strangely I love cats too, reason why I felt bad when I missed the white cat at a glance…Lol
Tanisha Hendricks says
Love this site was google searching and found this site and was very inspired. Motivate4life.com
Kathy Joyce says
I am also a cat lover and have a beautiful long haired white cat who lives with me. I totally agree that you can miss out on what is front of your eyes by focusing on the past, or too far into the future. Sometimes just taking out a few minutes each to totally relax and become mindful of the present moment can help you see things you would have otherwise missed.
NIRMAL LODHA says
The quote is so relevant to our day to day life. Each moment of our life creates eternity. One can never enjoy eternity unless he enjoys every single moment of life. It is not the situation that matters. It is our state of mind that is most powerful and is bound with divinity.