Hello again, friend
It’s interesting how some people show up in your life just when they are needed. An old friend of mine, who I haven’t been in contact with for over 16 years, recently emailed me. I was excited to hear from her, because she knew me at a very critical and vulnerable time in my life. She knew me when I wasn’t me, when I was just a girl filled with unmet potential.
In the letter she wrote me, she referred to my current teachings (writing) sounding like quintessential “Monica Talking.” It dawned on me, and I asked myself was “Monica Talking” almost twenty years ago? What shocked me more was that someone was actually listening then!
I worked with her when I was 19 and 20, and the last time I saw her was when I was 22. It was around the time I was in the throes of anorexia, at a time when I was still finding my voice, my truth, and learning to invest in myself in ways that truly matter, and the great value of how worthwhile that process is.
Her message reminded me that the changes we work so hard to make are actually really small (not unimportant!) in contrast with the bigger picture of who we are and always have been at our core. Unfortunately, some never come to see that and therefore don’t grow themselves in the ways that matter. They don’t have the perspective that in life we don’t have to make huge changes, just small change after small change, which eventually amounts to great change.
It reminds me of the story of the trimtrab, which was invented by philosopher and engineer, Buckminster Fuller, Bucky, as his friends knew him. For those of us who are nautically and aeronautically challenged, trimtabs are the tiny rudders that are attached to the back of the larger rudders on either ships or airplanes.
Bucky understood that in order for such a large vessel to change direction, the sheer force alone would put too much pressure on the rudder, causing it to snap. So he devised a solution where that kind of pressure was eliminated.
Fuller explained, “Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls that rudder around. It takes almost no effort at all. So you can just put your foot out and the whole big ship is going to go.”
This idea is so powerful, because everyday life really is a series of decisions, small changes that add up to great change. It reminds me of a quote I read in one of Nancy Gibbs’ articles, “It’s funny how things change slowly until the day we realize that they’ve changed completely.”
By making small changes, day after day, we become more of the person we crave to be versus the person others expect us to be. We can begin to live our potential. Rabbi Klonimus Kalmesh says that a person’s potential is revealed by their actions. Meaning, when a person does an action of sharing, he’s not revealing who he is, but rather, through doing the action of sharing, he becomes a more sharing person. The actions we do reveal the hidden essence and the potential of our being.
The purpose of our actions isn’t simply to be good, but to reveal a new version of us. The essence is always there. I can see who I am today from the “me” I was then, although I didn’t appreciate her at the time. But looking back at myself, today I can recognize me in the lost teenager I was. We can imagine what we can create, because everyday life is a series of decisions, small changes that add up to great change.
THOUGHT TO ACTION:
What do you want to cultivate in yourself? Be more sharing? Give today. Be a better parent? Spend 10 quality-uninterrupted-minutes with your kids (yes, you need to put your iphone away). Small changes = big change.
Share your experiences in the comment section.
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