Not much changes in a week… or does it? Well, if you look really closely, the coming fall is starting to shake a few yellow leaves off the trees, but it’s kinda hard to see here. And, this picture is taken earlier in the day, before my Monday run, so the lighting is a little different than the one before it. But, let’s face it, this picture looks pretty much like last week’s. And, although I promise you I took it on Monday, I still didn’t get it posted on Monday…. AGAIN! So much for meeting that goal. (But, hey, I’ll try again next week… besides, it was Labor Day).
So, since the view was nearly the same, I looked around on the ground for something interesting to take a picture of. Sadly, there was quite a bit of garbage but that wasn’t what I wanted.
Then, there at my feet I noticed a pretty, trilobed leaf…
Now, anyone who has ever been in an art workshop with me knows I have a penchant for odd numbers so, with this in mind, I can tell you that I do like “3s.” And, “3s” are pretty interesting, really, if you think about it. Let’s see, you’ve got three wishes, three bears, three billy goats gruff, three blind mice, three little pigs, good things that happen in 3s, bad things that happen in 3s, three primary colors, three strikes, three dimensions, on the count of three, and the list goes on… Gosh, who’d have known I’d think about any of that today? I bet you could even write a book about 3s!
I wonder what I’ll see if I just look straight up?
Red! I’m seeing red! Well, not like that, but I do see the color red. Wow, that’s not a small change, that’s a big change–green to red, opposites on the color wheel, complimentary colors. I love the color red and I once heard that every room in a house should have at least one thing in it that is red, even if it is small, for the right Feng Shui. Red has many symbolic meanings, from danger to luck, from temper to prosperity. It is the color most chosen by extroverts! Before I took my second and third shot, I searched the area for something “more interesting” and I admit I thought to myself, man, everything is brown and green. Boring.
But, this last shot has lots of colors… brown, green, yellow, blue and red! And, all I had to do was look up.
So, then I took my run. Running is my thinking time. I get all those cool endorphins flowing and my thoughts go all over the place. I’ve written proposals, books, speeches, letters and more, all during the course of a good run. Heck, I think we could all solve the world’s problems if we all just ran and thought, thought and ran, ran and thought (I just said that three times). Anyway, now, I had “small change” in mind…
Not long after my two sons were born, I became really panicked that I would never have a profession or a career that I loved. My early experience with education left me frustrated and I worried that I’d chosen the wrong direction. I was very fixated on the notion that I might never love what I did–not parenting, but what I did in the world at large. I was terrified, too, that I would never have my own money if I didn’t go back to work after early childrearing was through. So, I began frantically looking for a “job.”
And, on one night, I ended up at a meeting for people (women) who wanted to become medical transcriptionalists. Now, please do not take offense here if you do this and enjoy it. But, I sat that night, in an old Ramada Inn conference room (I’m not sure that there are new Ramada Inns, btw) and felt quite freaked out. You know the kind of windowless hotel banquet rooms with seizure-inducing florescent lighting, awful, ugly carpeting with random spill stains, and those terrible chairs that they can stack up in neat rows against the tan-colored, sliding divider walls? They passed out the packets and started running the slide show, explaining the training schedule and the equipment required, all the while telling us what a great career opportunity this was, especially for moms. The “career” was, basically, listening to a doctor’s notes on all manner of patients and then typing these words into a hospital database. I guess someone has to do it.
I couldn’t wait to get out.
This was definitely not for me. But, what to do? I was back at square one, back to being frantic, frustrated and worried that I would never have a personal passion. What I thought I wanted seemed big and far away. Actually, it seemed like the kind of thing that would never belong to me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a mom, but this was about that other part of moms… the part that isn’t just about making the little, diaper-wearing people feel and be great.
The truth is that there was no epiphany then, no big lightning bolt from above, no peek into a future filled with books to write, inspiring people to meet, or a road to run on five thousand times. In fact, at that moment, I was 40 lbs. heavier and couldn’t even run a mile if someone were chasing me. My art portfolio consisted of the “daily specials” posters I’d made during my days as a waitress. And my career in education turned out to be mainly substitute gigs with a single, bitter year at a high school in Cleveland where I was just too young to take the risks that would have made me a better teacher. As much as I would like to mark this as some universe-altering moment, it was just me and my frustration…
What I realize now is that I began to make a small changes. I look back now and see that every “runner” starts with a half mile, a quarter mile, a fricken’ block, if that’s all she can manage. I see that an “artist” has to begin by first making something, anything, a holiday ornament, a handmade notecard or a silly made-up song for her kids that keeps them from screaming their dang heads off in the middle of JC Penny’s waiting for the studio associate to take their annual portraits. And a “teacher” has to be brave enough to try things that she wasn’t taught at some university, but that she thinks might work because she really believes that education is more about her learning than her teaching.
So, when you think that nothing’s changed, look down and you might find things like magic in threes. Look up and you might see things more colorfully than you do straight ahead. Big changes happen in movies and novels, small change happens every, single day.
TRY THIS WEEK: Finding one small change from the past and making one small change for the future.