The Little Things

I am absolutely and completely a details person. This may well be why I ended up as an editor. It may also be why I appreciate the principles of Anusara yoga so much. It’s not that I can’t see the big picture, but I am more of a process person, I think, than the one with the grand vision. Not that I don’t have grand visions. I do. But. You know what I’m saying.

Details might seem tiresome or annoying, and paying attention to them might earn you a reputation as a nit-picker. (Or a copy editor.) But what it comes down to is that the details are what create the whole of something, and make it better and stronger. If you’re a reporter and you get an amazing scoop and write an incredible story, but you get a critical detail wrong — even (especially) if you spell a name wrong — your credibility is shot. They drilled this into our heads in journalism school, and I’m glad they did. It always upsets me when an educator or pr person or someone else who calls themself a writer or communicator gets something basic wrong. Typos are inevitable, but re-reading (and spell-checking) anything you send out is mandatory. So is knowing the rules of grammar and punctuation.

Okay, editorial rant over. What made me think about all this was (you guessed it) a recent yoga class. Emma had us focusing on one small refinement of muscular energy: shins in. You need to always press your shins energetically in, toward the midline of your body. You also push down through the balls of your feet, particularly on the big-toe side. And then you actually spread out your toes and press your pinkie toes back toward the outside of your knees. This is proper alignment. And it lets you do everything else correctly.

This might sound wacky, but it really works. It allows your hips and pelvis to align properly. Your tailbone tucks, your spine lengthens, and your upper body falls into place practically on its own. It’s kind of amazing how, if you actually focus on this one small thing, you can feel your body move naturally into alignment.

Think about how a ripple in the ocean can cause a tsunami in a country a thousand miles away. If you slightly alter one thing, or react in a slightly different way — or even just pay more attention to one small thing — it can radically change the outcome or the tone of a situation or relationship.

Major change can happen this way, with small steps and adjustments. It doesn’t have to be a grand sweeping motion. Examining the details can help you transform your big picture.

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