Live Large Size Matters

June 5th, 2012

A Texan farmer goes to Australia for a vacation.  He meets an Aussie farmer and they strike up a conversation.  The Aussie shows off his big wheat field and the Texan says, ‘Oh yeah. We have wheat fields that are at least twice as large.’

Then they walk around the farm a little, and the Aussie shows off his cattle. The Texan immediately says, ‘We have longhorns at least twice as large as your cows.’

Just then a herd of kangaroos hops through the field. The Texan asks, ‘And what are those?’

The Aussie replies with a surprised look, ‘What, you don’t have grasshoppers in Texas?’

Size matters! But not the size of your grasshopper, and certainly not the size of your ego. It’s the size of your character, the depth of your love, the capacity for courage, the reach of your vision, and the breadth of your perspective, that matters. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight that counts. It’s the size of the fight in the dog. Or as Neal Donald Walsh said,

The larger your understanding of who you really are, the smaller your ego.

Size matters especially when making big life decisions. The single best piece of advice I have heard, advice that applies to SO many situations, comes from a line in a David Whyte poem, Sweet Darkness. He says,

Anyone or anything that does not bring you alive is too small for you.

This holds true for jobs, careers, relationships, religions, gods, beliefs, political parties….. anything.

How do you know when something becomes too small? The same way you know when a sweater or pair of pants has become too small. It doesn’t fit any more. It feels constricting, like you want to burst out of it. When something becomes too small, you become defensive, protective, fearful, anxious. If you live too long with something too small, it manifests as pain in your body and conflict in your relationships.

You have a right to a life that fits. Choose a life that is larger enough to stretch and sustain you.

Once you make a decision that something has become too small for you, you have two options. You can either move on or you can stay and try and make it larger. Both decisions are valid and possible.

Either way, the solutions need to match the problems, both in size and scope, urgency and intensity. The size of the problems we are facing in the world today demand large solutions, even if the steps on the way are small and measured.

In the 1960’s the phrase became common place, “Think Globally. Act Locally.” This phrase itself has become too small in today’s, post moon landing, world. We now need to “Think Cosmically. Act Globally. And live locally.” I will take a tour through each one in turn.

In preparation, loosen the belt on your consciousness. You don’t need to suck it up, stifle under the weight of old drama and suffer any longer. Put the old sweater in a box marked, “Things that used to fit until my life and vision grew larger.” Put on a new mindset, but wear it only loosely for eventually you will outgrow this perspective too. Leave plenty of space for growth, for new opportunities and for the incredible adventure of being alive.

Take the advice of a Polar Bear,

Live Large. Sniff out opportunities. Learn some good icebreakers. Be thick-skinned. Be fearless. Appreciate long winter nights. Keep it cool!

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  1. Angeline M says:

    Perfect  thoughts today on my 65th birthday. 

  2. Barbara says:

    As a Texan I resemble your remarks – LOL!

  3. Kristine says:

    marvelous polar bear. beautiful polar bear. daring polar bear.
    polar bear grins at white buffalo skins and says moving on… 

  4. [...] purpose? Most of us are looking for the largest possible context to make our life feel purposeful. Live large. Think cosmically. Act globally. Live [...]

  5. Michael says:

    Thinking cosmically… Yet another BIG BANG by Ian!

  6. ian says:

    :) at least it wasnt a black hole :)

  7. Virginia Urbach says:

    Ah, yes, a life that fits. Put away the small, old sweater and opt for a new one that fits perfectly. Thank you, again for putting the words together that makes sense. “Old clothes optional, new clothes required”.

  8. Lana Fox says:

    This is beautiful. And so important. I especially love your use of the Whyte quote… In publishing, I have learned that, if possible, it is better to work with publishers that you believe in than it is to be published by a huge organization that does little for you. The ego only separates us from our truth.

    Thanks so much for a gorgeous post.

  9. Lynda says:

    Nice post and insight shared.  I now recognize an area in my life that has some “un-easyness”. The reason of it is size….small. Thank you. 

  10. Bob says:

    Wow wow,thats great ,really! i now understand the situation I am facing right now and I think with this insight I know how to go about it, thanks a lot !

  11. Logospilgrim says:

    “It feels constricting, like you want to burst out of it.”
    That is hitting the nail right on the head.

  12. [...] this from Ian Lawton, and brought to my attention by +Karin Sebelin. It is a post called “Live large, size matters“, and in short, it talks about how you need to pick a life that is bigger than yourself, then [...]

  13. Whit says:

    Ian, thinking about your article  and the concept of moving on from people, situations, paradigms that no longer fit. Two thoughts come to mind:a. How does the fact that our life experiences shape who we are and what we know (ie they form who we are and so are a part of us) fit with the concept of ‘casting off’ the the small to move on to the bigger? For example you come from a Christian background, and though you may say that it doesn’t fit now and so you’ve taken it off to hang in the metaphorical wardrobe, this ancestry is still evident in your writings.b. Your article overwhelmingly supports the idea that changing and moving from one path to another is a good thing. Shouldn’t we also be self aware enough to  ask if our changing self is a good thing? Are we really growing or are we becoming inflated? Are our ideals evolving or are we swapping a pure but difficult ethic for a easier and more appealing one?Food for thought… Whit.