Expansion

At the risk of sounding like a politician. I think we need to expand our definition of what is is.

The dictionary is full of hundreds-of-thousands of words and really most of us use only a small number of them - even when talking about things important to us.

This happened to me this past week when I was talking about my work as a writer. I was speaking from that part of me who believes anything worth doing must be work - as in burdensome in some way; an activity in which you have to make yourself participate; it likely requires great effort.

Really? Is that true?

No.

When I reframe the thought and think about my writing as part of my vocation, well, that opens up a whole new way of thinking about it. Vocation implies a strong urge, something with purpose and meaning. Vocation - not work - evokes feelings of something special, of worth and merit. Something joyful and fulfilling.

A vocation is what I call a broader definition of work. A fat, juicy definition. A definition that expands our vantage point. When I broadened my definition from writing as work to writing as vocation, my horizon changed.

Depending on from where you start, your horizon can look different. I love watching the sunset - preferably from the beach with a cold beverage in my hand. I also enjoy watching the sun rise - preferably while on a run.

Mentally, changing your horizon means looking outside the box and approaching things in a different way. Emotionally changing your horizon can give you a feeling of control over a situation. Spiritually changing your horizon is about integrating the whole - all the parts of yourself.

In the world of athletes, broadening your horizon might mean participating in two sports. Running and tennis. Although sometimes it might mean honing your skill. Getting better at sprinting or your backhand. If you broadened your horizons, instead you might focus on eating healthier to compliment your running. Hill training and improving your time.

In this case, broaden does not mean to generalize or make bigger - in fact, just the opposite. When we broaden the definition of something we actually go deeper into the meaning. We focus.

Broaden in this sense is to refine. Weird how expand and refine mean the same thing in the this case. That’s not usually how I think about those words. To broaden my horizon, I have to challenge myself - dig deeper and enjoy every mile marker along the way.

How about the definitions in your life? Can they be broadened, refined, focused? Get your dictionary off the shelf. Read your thesaurus. Dig deep. Be juicy. Integrate all the parts of yourself into the whole that is your authentic self.