An instructor sets a jar on the table. He places chunky rocks in the jar until no more can fit.
He asks the class if the jar is full and they agree it is.
“Really?” He adds small pebbles to the jar, shaking it a bit until they fill the spaces between the rocks.
Again, “Is the jar full?” The class agrees it is.
Next, he adds sand to the jar. The sand fills space between the pebbles and he asks the question again. This time, the class hesitates. Some are feeling the jar is obviously full, but others are wary of another possible alternative.
The instructor then takes a pitcher of water and tops off the jar.
He then says, “If this jar is your life, what does this experiment show you?”
One student answers, “No matter how busy you think you are, you can always take on more.”
“That is one view,” replies the instructor, then says “The rocks represent the BIG things in your life – what you will value at the end of your life – your family, your partner, your health, fulfilling your hopes and dreams. The pebbles are the other things in your life that give it meaning, like your job, your house, your hobbies, your friendships. The sand and water represent the ‘small stuff’ that fills our time, like watching TV or running errands.”
Looking out at the class again, he asks, “Can you see what would happen if I started with the sand or the pebbles?”
This parable is always in the back of my mind. It is an epic visual of what is important, what we perceive as important and what happens when we confuse the two. What I find most interesting is the number one value of the BIG rocks should be YOU. Even in this example the first, most important things in life are listed as family, partner, health and hopes and dreams. I say YOU are most important. For without an emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally healthy and centered YOU, there can’t be a healthy relationship for others and other things in your life.
Are you feeling off? Can’t keep up? Frustrated? Stressed? Others have expectations of you and your abilities for them – family, work, community. What are your expectations for yourself? Are you trying to keep up with the pebbles? What if YOU are the largest of the rocks? YOU come first into the jar. Everything else will follow and flow and have room in your life. If YOU are second or third or many times last, and YOU put those other rocks and pebbles and sand first, YOU won’t fit in the jar. YOU are outside the jar. YOU aren’t a priority and aren’t fulfilled with the others in the jar. Don’t resent or stress. Make YOU the priority and fill the jar accordingly.
What does it mean to put you first? We are all different. For me it means I find time for something I enjoy. Many days I am caught up in phone calls and emails and massages, then walking the dog and laundry and cleaning up, then, then, then… and I don’t feel I have time for something I truly enjoy. I must make time for ME. YOU must make time for YOU. It is YOUR life and YOU have one shot to enjoy it not just get through it.
So it’s February. The month of loooovvve. And though there are many we love, I say we choose ourselves to love first. Show yourself some love. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break. Speak kind words to yourself. Don’t treat yourself, put yourself first. BE THE ROCK. Loooovvve yourself first. I challenge YOU to choose YOU.
Stacy Ford is a Certified Athletic Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist and Co-Founder of Complete Wellness. Her mission is to help people feel & function better so they can live their very best lives. Stacy is available by appointment Monday - Friday. To schedule text/call 267-509-7717
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