I admit my ignorance when it comes to understanding the “art” of the bonsai tree. In fact, I’m not sure I ever saw much artistry in it. What’s the big deal about trimming little trees with a pair of little scissors anyway?

Once again, I was probably missing the point.

And I was.

Last week I unexpectedly found myself reading a magazine article about bonsai trees. As I read and looked at the photos, I challenged myself to open my mind and look beyond my preconceived notions to see if I could gain a better understanding of these cute little trees. I had always dismissed them as nothing more than, well, cute little trees. As I looked a little deeper I began to see a lesson contained within the contorted limbs of these ornamental trees.

The bonsai gardener starts with a vision for his tree, and it is this vision which directs his hand. With a focused intentionality the gardener carefully plans and meticulously executes his craft, trimming and shaping the tree to allow it to fulfill the vision he created for it. In our instant gratification world process just isn’t sexy. We marvel at results, not the discipline, hard work, and commitment needed to create the results. But that is where the real beauty is.

The real artistry lies in the process.

There is something quite powerful about focused intentionality. It shapes our thoughts and emotions, which in turn directs our actions. Focused intentionality realigns energies both internal and external. When present, potential is enlivened and moves ever closer to reality.

It works with cute little trees. It works with people, too.

How often do we go through our days lacking our own focused intentionality? How often are we living life defensively, reacting to what the day has thrown at us instead of moving forward to bring our greatest potential to life? It’s the focused intentionality which allows the bonsai gardener – and us – to eliminate everything else which is not in harmony with what we were created to become. It’s the discipline and structure aligned with the gardener’s vision which allows her vision to become a reality. But it all starts with the vision.

What is your vision for your life?

Without a vision, today runs the risk of becoming just another meaningless day to get through in a collection of meaningless days called your life. But with vision life has purpose and focus and with it the reasons why you do what it is you do.

The idea of developing a grand vision for your life sounds quite overwhelming. Often in this process we place tremendous pressure upon ourselves to come up with some sort of globally significant vision for what we wish to accomplish in life. The weight of such grandeur usually stops us in our tracks with us questioning our ability and even the validity of such a lofty vision. Once that happens we chuckle and head back to the life we already know, resigned to settle for the emptiness of what is at the expense of the fulfillment of what could be.

But what if you start small? What if your vision didn’t involve curing cancer or bringing peace to the world? What if you started by doing something for you? What if you committed to finally finishing up the credits you needed in order to get your degree? What if you started running in order to complete the 5k race you’ve been thinking about forever? What if instead of trying to drop 30 pounds you simply started by dropping five?

Starting small will always get you further than not starting at all. Starting small creates small victories, building momentum which in turn fuels your willingness to keep moving forward. Momentum is a powerful force which is always working for you or against you.

Accomplishing small things gives you the confidence and courage to accomplish the bigger things. The mindset changes and life becomes more than something to simply get through. Life becomes abundant with new opportunities and possibilities. Structure, discipline, and focus are now allies working with you as you move forward, with your thoughts and actions aligned with the vision you have for your life.

Yes, the real artistry is in the process.

But it all starts with a vision.

Your vision.

It’s a great day to be you!

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