Making Change


Making change.  Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in You Learn by Living: “Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart.  Don’t be concerned about whether people are watching you or criticizing you. The chances are that they aren’t paying any attention to you.  It’s your attention to yourself that is so stultifying.  But you have to disregard yourself as completely as possible.  If you fail the first time then you’ll just have to try harder the second time.  After all, there’s no real reason why you should fail.  Just stop thinking about yourself.”  In other words, Just Do It.

A few things that keep me focused while flowing with change:

  1. As Eleanor says: Just stop thinking about yourself.
  2. Let your history of reward and success encourage you. Remember a time when you tried something new or different or risky . . . and it really felt great while in the process or it, ultimately, led to a really fun outcome.
  3. Surround yourself with quotes that inspire you to be bold.  Words are powerful.
  4. Tape up index cards with the definitions of words like courage, brave, risk, happiness, wealth.  It is always good to see such large, sometimes seemingly unattainable, words defined into smaller, simpler parts.
  5. Write about the journey.  It secures what you are experiencing to your heart and emboldens you.
  6. Be happy. Tell your family and friends how happy you are while you are flowing with change.
  7. Don’t think outside the box. There is no box.  Let yourself slip into flow mode.
  8. Seek the company of generous people who are happy that you are happy. Stay away from naysayers who don’t share your happiness or who feel threatened by your vision.
  9. When in doubt and you feel you are at a crossroads, flip a coin. By the time the coin lands you will know what you want.  This works.  If you still feel uncertain after seeing that head or tail or if you find yourself flipping the coin again for 2 out of 3, you will know what your preference is.  Go with it and trust yourself.
  10. Extend love to others. It is always returned and it will guide you as you make change.
  11. Dissolve fear. Give it the gamma rays and zap it.  Let it go.  Silence it.  Replace fear with trust.
  12. Pay attention.  Always pay attention.
  13. Think affirmation rather than negation.
  14. Believe in CAN.

Eleanor also wrote: “Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try.  For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, ‘It can’t be done.’”

It can be done.  And it will be done if you allow yourself the freedom of choice to make change.  Follow the change.  Enjoy the change.  Be the change.

Nothing that I have written here is new.  It has been spoken, written, repeated, and recorded throughout the ages.  It has been sermonized and it has been put into song.  Repetition of platitudes is not the best teacher.  Experience is.  Embracing life is.  Taking the first step is.

But I somehow seem to need the reminders.  And it is empowering to foresee possibility and then feel the zing that coincides believing and knowing deep deep inside.  But it involves taking a ride, sometimes on the wild and brave side, to get to the good stuff.  Achieving is fantastic, but taking the ride is the true experience.  Taking the ride is the change.




No Hesitation

Please, watch this five-minute video of Candid Thovex skiing.  It is nothing short of amazing.

What struck me about this video is not simply the skill, commitment, dedication, and fearlessness that Thovex has devoted to his skiing.  What struck me is that there are many moments on the video — if not throughout its entirety — where it feels that if Thovex had hesitated for one micro-second, he might have crashed into a tree or gone flying off the mountain into a rock wall.  Mission Not-Accomplished.

I am not and have never been one to seek thrills by daredevil skiing down the mountain or by catching air on my kiteboard in ultra-cold seawater or by jumping out of an airplane.  I love to hike the trail but am not interested in rock or ice climbing.  Still, I was thinking about how this incredibly gutsy video parallels my life.

I actually can see how it does apply to my fiddle playing or my writing or my positive intending or my Thoreau-esque sauntering down the road through the forest or . . .  you get the idea.  Not exactly the stuff of thrills, spills, and chills to an observer.  But this is my life.  It matters to me how I feel as I absorb and interpret the environment that I have chosen to live in.  Without hesitation.

Hesitation.  It has its merits.  I have certainly jumped all willy-nilly into certain situations and have not emerged with what has felt to be at the time the best of outcomes.  And before I am too quick to judge a crazy outcome, I do realize that there is a bigger picture I cannot see.  An unfinished play that has not been yet written.  A dance that is still being choreographed.  An elaborate tapestry that only allows me to see the underside — the side with the knots, the threads, and the inevitable slubs — all the while knowing that there is a gorgeous pattern seen from above.  There is fate and there is destiny.  There are many metaphors, allegories, analogies, and similes that I have read and that I have tried to apply like a Band-Aid to my wounded soul when I have really mucked up.  Depending on the degree of mucking, these word pictures have provided temporary solace and have gotten me through to the next time I did not hesitate.  And knowing me, the opportunity would certainly be there.

leap of faithI have thrown caution to the proverbial wind and plunged into relationships, jobs, adventures at random.  My brother and I are still laughing about the night that we got frozen out of our March camping trip without a tent in the unexpected snow and had to seek free hospitality à la couch surfing (we were broke: hence why we were snow camping) from one of the Lower Tavern’s regulars (stranger to us), Duane.  Not exactly flying down a mountain at incredible speeds like Thovex but a leap of faith, nonetheless, that resulted in a high-speed Dukes-of-Hazzard car chase up an S-curved gravel road (we were actually the pursuers, not our host Duane).  Yes, a leap of faith and a lengthy journal entry and a re-affirmation of my knowing that angels do exist.  At the very least, I can say that we were not in Hesitation Mode.

Still, hesitation is not all that it is billed to be.  It can really mess life up.  If there are Band-Aid moments when I have not hesitated, I am thinking that there are exponentially more times when I have hesitated.  Waffled.  Procrastinated.  Buried my head in the sand.  Dinked around.  Hoped it would go away or resolve on its own.  I didn’t know what to do, so I hesitated.  At the time, I simply didn’t realize that not making a decision is still making a decision.  I am wanting to grow my awareness of this now.  To hesitate or not to hesitate is not the question.  They are exactly the same thing.

leap-of-faith1Although I am mightily aware of my propensity to jump first and think later, my perspective has changed slightly.  There is the juxtaposition of spontaneity and hesitation.  And there is the contrasting effect of believing and knowing.     We believe with our minds, but we know with our hearts.  We say what we think, but we act with our hearts.  And . . . “Sometimes your only transportation is a leap of faith.” — Margaret Shepard

I have a research-oriented mind.  And a creative heart.  Maybe this is the challenge I create for myself.  Perhaps I am so busy dissecting experiences into rational bits of mind and body and soul, I am creating moments of hesitation that would be best lived by just allowing my knowing self to have the wheel.  Put my believing into the back seat — certainly invite it along — without the benefit of a spare steering wheel.

Can there really be so many complex parts to such a simple whole — this thing called life?   Believing is important.  Knowing is important.  Really knowing. When I allow the seamless marriage of these two . . . Pilgrim, look out and hold on!  Things are going to start happening in ways that my mind could not have ever imagined on its own.

One of my favorite quotes is “Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.  This has been a guiding quote through some challenging times in recent history.  I have this quote scattered throughout my house.  It is written on the front of my journal.  I really value this quote.  But I am adding to it today:

Always know that something wonderful is happening right now.  Right now.  

Walt Whitman wrote: “To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.”  There are feelings of comfort, peacefulness, appreciation, and joy in not only believing this but knowing that this true.

Miracles happen.  They do.  Every single moment.  I KNOW this to be true.  My awareness of an “unspeakably perfect miracle” erases the seam between my believing and my knowing.  Embrace the moment.  Ski the mountain.  Know the miracle.  Without hesitation.