The following took place on Sunday, January 11, 2015
It’s foggy today. Not pea-soup foggy, but foggy enough that, as I reach the top of the levy where I do my three-mile run every Sunday morning, I feel as though I’ve stepped into an episode of the twilight zone. Or maybe a set from one of the Twilight-saga movies.
As I begin to run, the path—normally littered with runners on a Sunday morning—is eerily empty. Am I alone in some parallel universe? Have the others been vaporized? Or carried off by a giant pterodactyl? Will it be coming for me?
Finally, a silhouette appears in the distance. From all appearances, it is a human form. As it gets closer, and closer still, I eye it suspiciously, half expecting to see wings sprout from its back and sigh in relief when it passes without incident.
The trees that line the path along the river teem with life. I stop and listen. When I close my eyes I think I am in a dense jungle in South America. I think that the birds must feel safe in the fog, must instinctively know that we can’t see them and they pour their hearts out in song. Beautiful melodies in un-orchestrated fashion.
The sun looks more like a full harvest moon as it peers through the fog, desperately trying to claim the sky and I think it will succeed, but not yet. Please, not yet. I might actually be dreaming right now, and if I am, I’m not yet ready to wake.
I pass a boat, a big boat—the kind that has a lower compartment—moored to a tree. I believe it is the same boat moored to the same tree as it was last week. Its occupants are nowhere to be seen, and I begin to wonder. Has a mysterious sea creature snatched them from the ship and eaten them alive? Or have the owners simply abandoned ship? And then I laugh. It’s been months since I’ve written anything new on my latest masterpiece, next great American novel, current work in progress, but clearly my muse is not dead.
As the parking lot comes into view, I think this is most extraordinary run I’ve ever had. I’ve run this path a thousand times, but today I saw it in a way I could never have imagined. Today I saw it from a brand new perspective.
And then I think, maybe that’s what I need at work: a new perspective. For months I’ve been working in a pressure cooker. Putting out fires and solving problems relating to a new multi-system implementation while my regular work continues to pile up. I am tired and I am overwhelmed.
Maybe it’s time to look at each problem as an opportunity. An opportunity to be of service, to learn, to build relationships with people. I have five days left before I leave for the much needed MEcation. Five days to work on a healthier, more productive way of dealing with stress. I don’t know if it’s really that easy, but I think I’ll give it a try.
What about you? Has looking at an old problem with a new perspective ever helped you? I’d love to hear about it.
Coming soon: How to Cover Up a Bonehead Move