Size of Rocks

Daily Movement Prompts, Friday, August 4, 2017 edition: Size of Rocks

Have you heard the story about the professor demonstrating how much volume was in a large jar? First he filled it with big rocks and asked the class, “Is it full?” They said, “yes.” Then he took out small pebbles and poured those in the spaces. He asked again, “Is it full?” Some of them said, “yes.” Then he poured sand in the spaces. He asked again, “Is it full?” And some of them hesitated to answer, “yes?” Then he poured in a liquid. Now the jar was full.

Sometimes this can be a motivational method for how to attack a project. Move the big rocks first. Then pour some pebbles into the spaces. Then pour in the sand. Then pour in the liquid. But I like to also use this as a way to ask myself, “What size rocks of movement can I handle today?”

There are days I can really move the big rocks. I can run and sweat and swim and jump and challenge myself to the toughest dance moves. There are other days when I just work on some of the small pebbles of movement. I can teach the Fundamentals, focus on posture and formations and angles and presentation. There are days when I can just manage to move some sand. I can do my physical therapy, I can stretch on a large exercise ball, I can test the ability of my knee to move. Other days, I’m flat on my back, lucky I can pour some liquid in the jar. Sitting up and walking around the house is an effort, then it’s back to stretching carefully into a comfortable position.

Which size rock of movement can you face today? Can you move the big rocks today? Or are you a melted puddle of liquid, just trying not to slosh too much? It’s all okay. You can choose movement or you can choose rest. Which will you choose today?

(There’s more to the original story. I believe he made comparisons to which things in life matched the metaphor for the big rocks, small pebbles, and sand. And the liquid, in one version of the story, was a beer. He punchline is that after you make room for the big rocks, pebbles, and sand in life, there’s still always room for a beer.)