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