filling out life with what's important

Rocks, Sand and Tea

How full is your life with the important things?

What’s really important?

When things in your life seem overwhelming and you haven’t taken a moment to breathe . . . remember the sand in the jar and 2 cups of tea. Taking a breath is so important to our health – our minds, bodies, and spirits.

A Proverb about Priorities

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had a few items on the table – an empty jar, rocks, sand, and a cup of tea. To start, she wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mason jar and proceeded to fill it with large stones. She then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the large stones. She then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. She asked once more if the jar was full. The students again agreed it was full to the brim.

The professor then produced two cups of tea from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want to you recognize that this jar represents your life. The large stones are the important things — your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favourite passions — and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car.

The sand is everything else — the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” she continued, “there is no room for the pebbles and the large stones. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

What’s important?

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your significant other out for dinner. Meet up with your friends. There will also be time to clean the house and to fix the hoover. Take care of the large stones first — the things that really matter. Set your priorities – what’s really important? The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised his hand and asked what the tea represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that, no matter how full your life may seem . . .

there’s always room for a cup of tea with a friend.”

2 thoughts on “Rocks, Sand and Tea”

  1. Such a wonderful visual lesson to remind us now, in among the uncertainty and unpredictability which leads to fear and anxiety, where our focus is best placed. Thank you Jackie for this powerful reminder 🙏

  2. Pingback: From overwhelm to inner peace - Energy Flows

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