Duchess Digest: Putting Things in Context

By Jill Brown

Happy-WomanContext is a little word with a whole lot of meaning. The ways in which you frame and build your experience every day can be the difference between a peaceful, flowing and abundant life or a stress filled, anxiety driven wild ride. The same event in different people’s lives could mean any number of things depending on how they interpret it and the context in which the event is placed. Are you creating your life? Or letting life take you for a spin?

At one of my last jobs, the management always shared a story which perfectly illustrated the importance of context in our world. Three men were given the task of lying bricks. The first went into work each day putting together the mortar and stacking the bricks, doing his job with little joy but at least with gratitude for the income. Each day he gave little thought to the rows of bricks he was laying or what his efforts meant in a bigger picture.

The second man went to work each day with a bigger outlook. He saw the bricks he laid each day as a way to make a strong and useful wall. While his job perhaps didn’t bring him joy, he at least recognized the purpose and structure in the work he performed.

The third man was a dreamer. Just like the other two, he went to work each day lying row after row of bricks. However, each day he approached every brick, every layer of mortar, as an art. He was not just laying down bricks and pulling in a paycheck, nor was he merely building a wall with function, purpose and design (although that was of course an unintended side effect of his labor). No, this third man was practicing his art and living his dream each day, for as he put every brick down, he knew he was creating a cathedral.

With the right context behind the day to day tasks you perform, you can find purpose, passion and meaning to the foundation you are building. Here are some great questions you can ask yourself to determine which kind of mason you are;

1)    Are you laying bricks or are you building your dream? The day to day tasks you perform or put off are creating your life. Do you want to be wealthy, yet spend no time balancing your check book, setting aside savings or investing in some financial planning? The steps you take in context one day at a time are what ultimately builds the big dream; how can you add meaning to your daily work?

2)    Are you allowing yourself to dream big enough? Building a wall is fine but if you have dreams of creating a cathedral, why not go big? Do you have enough context to perform the day’s efforts with joy as you build your ideal life as grand as it can possibly be?

3)  How are you creating a strong foundation to place your dreams on? Remember the old parable about the wise man building his house upon the rock, while the foolish man built his house upon the sand? Make sure your dreams have a solid foundation on the rocks of reality. The practical and persistent steps you take every day are what will see you through to your pie in the sky!

–Jill Brown

Jill Brown is a Los Angeles, California-based life coach and writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous and unique selves. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, traveler and health nut. When she isn’t writing or working on Duchess, Jill loves spending all her free time with her Labrador – Betty. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: www.theduchessguide.com


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