A story told on Frank Chimero’s blog:

One day, a Tibetan Lama was speaking to a group of monks and, to make a point, pulled out a large jar, set it on the table in front of him, produced a few fist-sized rocks, and placed them, one by one, into the jar. When no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”

Everyone said, “Yes.” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel, dumped some in and shook the jar, the gravel worked between the rocks. Again, he asked: “Is this jar full?” The monks were catching on. “Probably not,” one answered. “Good!” he replied and reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He dumped the sand into the jar until it filled all the crevices. Once more he asked: “Is this jar full?”

“No!” the monks shouted.

“Good!” He said and grabbed a pitcher of water and poured until the jar was filled to the brim. Then asked, “What is the point of this illustration?” One young monk responded, “The point is, no matter how full your day you can always fit some more things in.”

“No,” the speaker replied. “The point is that if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

When I think of big rocks, I think of the Peace Corps. It’s now or never! I’ve heard too many stories of people who put it off in order for small rocks, or rocks of similar sizes and then were never able to fulfill that dream. When thinking of the “big rocks” I’ve managed to fit in the past, I ask myself, “How do you know WHICH big rocks to choose from”.

We live in a rocky world and I feel like in the past, I’ve had two big rocks to choose from and only one would fit. I think I chose the best option but maybe I would have made the best out of either option anyway and trying to collect big rocks is a waste of time. Maybe life isn’t a jar of big ugly rocks anyway. Maybe it’s a jar of the little things; colored sand in which meaning is only found at the end when you’ve created something beautiful. It’s the little things that bring so much joy and meaning , the things that we miss out on by worrying to much about the big rocks.

So maybe not all big rocks are ugly. Cannon Beach, Oregon. One of my happy places :-)

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