Perspective is something we often desperately want. Unfortunately, as our desire for perspective increases, it usually becomes more difficult to access. Why is it like this? In order to have a shot at a fresh perspective you need to get some distance between you and the thing you're trying to get perspective on. In other words, you have to take your sticky little fingers off the thing and walk away for a period of time that’s often longer than you're comfortable with.
The more something--job, relationship, project--matters to you, the harder it is to convince yourself that you can set it down for any period of time. The stakes are high, right? If you walk away you might lose the thing, the thing might fall apart (or worse, it might do just fine without you), or you might find that you don't want to go back to them. Those are just a handful of the frightening possibilities.
AND YET, until you put it down and allow for some space, you won’t know.
You won’t know the either scary thing or the beautiful thing (or both!) that might happen if given the opportunity.
I was reminded of this very recently as Michael and I just spent two weeks in Japan. Not only was Japan too far away for me to be of any help should anyone have needed me, but it was also so foreign that the parts of my brain and personality that are used to running the show were swiftly relocated to the back seat. While it seems that going somewhere this challenging would mean that you would return home exhausted, I didn’t. Instead, for the first time in years—maybe even a decade—I feel like I have access to an internal source of energy that has been in hibernation for a long, long time.
I tend to forget that when I’m tired and worn out I don’t make great decisions. That can look like overcommitting or overindulging but ultimately both of these happen because I give up a little on the person I really want to be or the life I want to have because I’m exhausted. I know a lot of people who feel particularly exhausted these days and I encourage any of you who do to take an actual break which could look like two weeks in a confusing country or an afternoon of ambling around in your neighborhood or the woods--the Japanese call this Shinrin-yoku or "forest bathing"-- with no specific goal in mind other than to notice what’s around you. They both work!