Conscious Choices from the Perspective of Eternity
Last spring I spent a week at an amazing private eco-retreat centre in southern Spain called La Finca Paradiso and returned with some delightfully unexpected gifts, including one from nature.
Amidst 33 acres of beautiful gardens designed and created over a 20 year period using the principles of sacred geometry stands a 2,000 year old olive tree that literally took my breath away.
Being in the presence of this ancient tree triggered an indescribable depth of timelessness that was at once unfathomably vast and eternally grounded in the Now.
Shift in Perspective
It didn’t take long for me to experience a palpable shift in perspective as the gaze of eternity shed a whole new light on absolutely everything.
I felt like the lens through which I’d been viewing the timing of personal priorities and professional projects cleared, and a weight I’d unconsciously been carrying just dropped away.
It was hugely liberating!
A New Way Forwards
It also thoroughly confirmed for me a decision I’d made just a fortnight before when I’d come face to face with the reality that estimating how long projects take is not one of my strengths.
At the time I was feeling a sense of urgency regarding new developments in my business yet also committed to finding a new way forwards that didn’t involve unrealistic timelines.
The dilemma came into sharp relief when I read a section in Brene Brown’s book Dare to Lead where she tells the story of how she realized that estimating time wasn’t one of her skills either.
It was just what I needed to help me cross the threshold I was facing and make a conscious choice to allow ample time for the project to unfold with effortless ease and grace.
As soon as the decision was made, the subtle contraction of pressure opened into an expanded state of joyful flow; it felt completely right.
Two weeks later, the timeless gift of the olive tree reinforced this learning with an even more significant message about the value of making conscious choices from the perspective of eternity.
The Path of Mastery
Of course sometimes it’s entirely appropriate to make fast decisions and take immediate action in order to catch a wave, meet tight deadlines or save lives!
Yet it’s all too easy for speed to become an unconsciously driven habitual norm as expectations increase for everything to happen yesterday and/or be available instantly.
It’s tough to resist the internal and external pressure to see tangible results as soon as possible.
However, the path of mastery teaches that the greatest rewards come from steady commitment over the long term.
The perspective of eternity that the olive tree so exquisitely embodies opens the way for conscious choices to become possible through clearing the lens of conditioned response.
Now, when I’m faced with a challenging situation, I ask myself, “How does this look from the perspective of eternity?”
As my perception shifts to an expanded view of whatever details have presented themselves, clarity soon follows and the next steps become obvious.
Sense of Infinity
There are numerous ways to trigger a feeling of timelessness that can provide you with a similar sense of infinity as the context for important decisions or choices you need to make today.
You might feel it through an ancient wonder of the natural world, a sacred site that’s stood the test of time or a work of art that’s as fresh and vibrant now as when it was originally created.
The sense of well-being that comes from immersing yourself in this readily available but often ignored viewpoint is quite literally priceless.
As William Blake so famously wrote, “To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower. Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.”
Thank you Susan!
Very ‘timely’ Julia, thank you. It begs the question where this sense of urgency arises from and why we feel compelled – propelled even, to respond.
That’s good to hear Claire, thanks for your comment.
My take on the sense of urgency is that it comes from the ego mind which is so often conditioned to look for an illusory “ideal future” that never arrives and always takes us out of the present moment which is a portal into the fullness of eternity.
Thank you Julia for this much-needed insight. We know that changing our perspective can make all the difference in how we respond to life situations. Looking at something from the perspective of Eternity~~an awesome invitation.
An awesome invitation indeed Helen, I love the way you’ve expressed that!
Yes, changing our perspective makes all the difference in the world although it’s not always easy to do. My discovery is that this simple question genuinely facilitates a positive and immediate shift in perspective.
This is something I needed to be reminded of. I have a plan…which I explicitly founded on the premise that if I don’t do it now I never will.
Who says? Who says it has to be in 2020?
In his guidebook to the Camino Francés John Brierley reminds us that a pilgrimage “takes as along as it takes” and as I’m working my way towards my own ‘way’, my own camino, Tao, Dharma, I have to keep reminding myself that “now or never” is possibly one of the less helpful mantras. “It takes as long as it takes” is a better one ~ and coincidentally (or not?) is the one I have adopted in terms of the builders working on the renovation of what will be my new home. It will get done, and it will take as long as it takes. Stress not.
I understand your point about “if not now, when?” question which can be a real double-edged sword.
Certainly driving forwards on unrealistic timeframes for any project creates stress, pressure and a contraction of flow which is exactly what this post is about avoiding.
However, it’s a tricky balance to strike because not feeling ready, for example, can also become a form of resistance, and in all honesty, I’ve never felt truly ready for any of the major shifts I’ve been through.
Ironically when you’re fully present in the moment you’re able to navigate the paradox that includes both the perspective of eternity (where everything takes as long as it takes) and the immediacy of the Now!
Wishing you all the best with the renovation work on your new home.
Thank you for your illuminating perspective on such a magical space. On the day of New Moon rising in Taurus, it reminds me of opportunities for new beginnings and “conscious choices.” Asking questions of “What next?” without really knowing any or all the answers is plunging into deep pools of unknowing yet trusting that everything comes in its own season and the way it’s meant to be. Courage, do not abandon me now.
Thanks for sharing your reaction to this post Elsie. Yes, the new moon was good timing for this message to go out and I love your expression of trusting that everything comes in its own season.
Living the question of “What next?” does indeed require courage and trust. I’ve also found that being supremely alert in a grounded way has helped me to “read the signs of the world” and notice the breadcrumbs that subtly point the way forwards.
Here’s to the pure potential of the unknown!
Julia, I love the guidance of The Path of Mastery, with its removal of unnecessary pressure and the arrival of a calm commitment to a steady process of unfolding. Priceless!
Thank you Peter. I’m committed to the Path of Mastery and experience it as an ever-deepening lifelong learning!
Beautiful blog, Julia. I had a somewhat similar experience with the publication of my book The Heroine’s Journey. I had worked myself up into a state of extreme anxiety about it and made myself really ill. Was it really worth it, I asked myself. Somehow and somewhere along the way I have come to the realisation that there is no hurry about getting it out there, and that everything will unfold as it is meant to do. My anxiety has gone and I know that I have produced a good book. Namaste and thanks to you Julia.
Thank you Daphne, and for sharing your experience with the publication of your book. I’m so pleased to hear that your anxiety has fallen away and huge congratulations for crossing this significant threshold with your writing and becoming a published author! I’m very much looking forward to seeing a copy and do please post a link of where everyone can check it out! Namaste x
That is so lovely, thank you. The tree is truly magical even when only looking at the photo.
Yes, I know what you mean Sue. The timeless presence of the tree truly does shine through the photo; no wonder it had such an impact on me! Thanks for your comment.
A very timely post for me…. I’ve been dealing with a few timelines that are not going as “planned”. One, in fact, today. And this morning I tried to journal a similar message…it is what it is; if it’s meant to finish today, it will. And since the contractor is not yet here (at 10:15 AM), I needed this message again. In the scheme of things, it will happen when it is meant to happen.
I’m glad to hear this post is timely for you Patricia. I understand all too well about timelines not going as planned, and I wish you well for a smooth transition into the moment when your plans finally come to fruition!