I did it again. I was so busy getting things checked off my list before vacation, that I started to cut corners and skip steps and practices that help me be more effective. Eric and I are finally taking a vacation this year and decided to reconnect with nature. Yes, I know that we live at a campground with nature around us, but experiencing nature in a different context, that does not include work, is refreshing and relaxing for me. We set a vacation budget and then found destinations that fit into our budget. I have found that traveling to a destination in their offseason offers great deals. We don’t mind the cold and wet, so we finally decided on Scotland after a long discernment process with Iceland.
The past month has been fun mapping out the sites and locations that we want to visit. One of the items on our list is to climb Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the UK. We are excited about this activity and started our packing list a month ago. For those that know me, I can be eccentric in some aspects of my life, but I am also a thrifty person when it comes to using resources. This trip was no different. I wanted to see how light we could pack to avoid paying for checked luggage. I figured that we could wash during our trip to avoid over-packing. So with this mentality, I started packing lightly and efficiently as possible. I was moving and grooving. With a toddler, groups coming and going, new projects at the camp, and a host of other activities, my vacation was scheduled, but most of the planning was put on a back burner until a couple weeks ago. It was then that I started to use this visioning technique that I usually do at the start of every task.
My process is very similar to FIT – Functional Imagery Training. FIT goes beyond just envisioning what you are doing and incorporates deep, sensory details in that vision. For example, if my goal was to pick apples from a tree, I could see myself using a ladder or climbing the tree to achieve my goal. Using FIT, I would not only visualize the method, but I would also envision climbing the tree and what the wood might feel like scraping my skin, feeling bugs crawl on my body while in the tree, or getting sticky apple juice on my hands and in my hair. Incorporating the senses such as sight, smell, sound, taste, and texture adds a dimension to my understanding of what I can expect.
Well, I did not use this technique in a timely manner on prepping for this trip. I had packed efficiently and lightly, but I failed to envision the cold or becoming wet when the snow melts against my clothing or the potential slippery path as we hike up the mountain. As a result, I had light hiking pants that were not cold-resistant or waterproof, no gloves for cold or climbing, or any means to protect myself from the finicky Scottish weather where rain is inevitable. Thanks to Amazon and some serendipitous finds in local stores, I was able to rectify my oversight with 2-day shipping. I have now gone through the itinerary in more detail using FIT, and I feel more confident than a week ago.
I cannot help but think about all the facets of our lives. Being overburdened, tired, and stretched thinly, it becomes very challenging to think about our future, envision goals, and create a solid plan to achieve them with any degree of effectiveness. I was told in seminary that 80% of the work in the church has only 20% of gains/impact and 20% of what we do brings 80% of the gains/impacts. The trick is to identify what consists of that 20% which makes it so effective and do more of it and allow the other 80% of tasks to be evaluated as to their need or at least the scale of those activities or services. October is a great month in the year to take a breather before all the holidays and the new year start. It is a time to examine our lives to see if we are on the path that is invigorating for us, builds on our values and beliefs, and reflects that relationship that we have with the Divine. After all, no one will start this process for us. If you have the time, try out FIT in your next visioning process. Start with some small tasks that you would like to achieve. Experience that moment with all your senses, and then do it. Start to hone your mind’s eye so that future FIT sessions will be more productive. I hope this fall is a blessing in your life as well as those you encounter.