I am looking back at where I thought I was going… at what I thought I was doing. And in many respects I see that I do better when I do more and think less. There are discoveries made only through the act of doing. Some of my best new directions have evolved out of a day when for whatever reason I could do nothing that I had planned or felt was next, through no fault of my own. I was simply blindsided and blocked from what was routine to what I felt my work required and my day held. Change is born out of making different choices and the act of doing seeds the recognition of new options from which to chose from.
There are things that we can do, that we have no clue that we would be good at it or that it would be so fulfilling. And in the end it might very well be a huge undertaking that holds the power to bring enormous change into our lives, but at the start you don’t have to know that aspect about it. In that expectation lies the most singular undoing of ourselves…thinking that we do have to know the outcome of an effort and turning away from ideas that lack such certainties. We are afraid of progress. We are afraid of losing the status quo. We are afraid of putting our energies into something that will not produce what we feel society will value and respect.
Pride. We fear looking foolish to our peers. We fear that too many mistakes in judgment will ruin our good reputation that we have going for us and we will feel foolish in our thinking that we could have done what we once believed we could. Basically we don’t like to look bad to ourself and others. But not doing new things limits your growth and experiences in which we learn things we did not know before; doing brings pleasure and new insights into ourselves and the world. Doing shows us not only what we can do but what we enjoy doing, so much that we would do it even if we are not being paid to. So much that we don’t even mind that our first attempts suck… because we feel challenged by the room we see for improvement.
When you submerge yourself in learning something new that you feel drawn to for whatever reason and the goal is not monetary or for approval or recognition, you discover a new form of freedom. That of living outside of societal expectations. People who are productive and creative in their own lives and homes do not need to rely as heavily on society for their needs.
The woman who uses cloth diapers is not dependent on a company manufacturing disposable diapers nor is she contributing to society’s problems of landfills overflowing with them or the chemicals that go into producing something that in truth maybe made to be thrown out after one use, but are impossible to dispose of really. The woman who breast-feeds has no need for formula, with it’s cans and lids and measuring cups. She has no need for the factories that made the can or the design firm that made the eye attracting label or the ad agency that produced the commercial. Or the factory that made the formula that goes in that can with the attractive label so it looked so good on the commercial. The woman who grows her flowers does not need a florist. The woman who sews does not need to pay $40.00 a panel for new drapes. The woman who grows her own fruits and vegetables, knows what has been put into them and kept out of them and what ones you plant once and enjoy for years.
There is a certain logic in having a population dependent on someone else producing what they need for them in that it frees them from the home and their own interests and translates it into needing a job to buy what they need in their daily lives. It creates workers. When you can no longer fulfill the needs of family and home upon your own land than you must leave it for work outside the home and when you are not home to grow your own food, cook your own meals, tend your own children, do your own household repairs and housewares, you need money to pay someone else to do it for you as large companies do not barter.
Our inability to trade our wares for the wares of our neighbors costs us a great deal in that the goal is no longer for an even exchange of fair value as it is perceived by the time and investment it requires to become a finished product or a marketable material. Bartering holds an appreciation for the not only the fruits of our labor, but for another’s. Barter is not a sale, it is an even exchange…thus there is nothing to tax. Not the sales. Not the income. Nothing was sold and no profit was made on an even trade.
We are still in a position to have an individual effect on the quality of life for ourselves and others by beginning to put more of our time and energies into becoming more creatively independent in how we live our lives, feed ourselves and our families, interact in exchanges in our communities. Shop local. Shop neighborhood. Shop small businesses. Consider repair at some mom and pop shop instead of replace. Re-sole your favorite boots. Sharpen the mower blades. Get the cord replaced on the vacuum that the dog chewed off. Buy used furniture made out of real wood and rub some love into the finish. In doing this you get more than you paid for, as these are doers doing their own thing, and doers like to help others find and do their own thing and share what they have learned.
And what I have learned is small things make a big difference, actually all kinds of big differences, as it is an accumulative effect, in that one small change can change many things via changing how we think about things, feel about things. So goes the saying, Seeing is believing. We all have the power, ability and means to become independently secure, we have just lost the expectation that it can be done and lost the awareness that… whatever it is, it is no more than something we have yet to learn how to do.
Learning takes time, as much time as it takes, becoming good at what you have learned takes time…as much time as it takes, so it is not an overnight or an easy fix, but a gradual evolution, as you are searching for what will hold your interest and challenge you, something that will keep you invested, keep you showing up every morning to make progress.
We no longer give ourselves time to mature at something. And the big example of that is so few go to college anymore, the reason being they have to work they don’t have time to go to school for X amount of time; not the semester, to be licensed; or the 9 months to be certified; nor the two years for an associate; not the four for a bachelors. We do not give ourselves the time required, not even the three years, for a plant to mature and we are not yet fully grasping, that the Internet holds a free education for all.
The turning point for me was realizing that using your brain is just plain good for it. Take it out for a walk and see where it takes you, let your thoughts ramble and see where they lead. If you enjoy something make more time for it, delve into what is known about it or being done with it and if it pleases you give it a whirl and see what you can do. None of us can do it all, but we can do something…and next week maybe something else and each time we do something new, we have changed our status quo in a positive way simply by being willing to give it a try. Willing to let our experiences lead us to what is possible for us and next. I truly believe that we breathe our own life into living and that we are such amazingly intuitive beings of freewill and choice and the grandest of ideas. We need no one’s permission to be who we are and to do what we can. We are not the lemmings we have been lead to believe. We can do moderation, we can meet ourselves half way, we can pick and chose what to bring forward from memory into daily life again that made us feel good in the doing.
Truthfully, with the Internet, there has never been a better day to think independently and work from your home. Even if you are not well, you can set your schedule and work around those more difficult days. Even if you can’t get out of your house, you can get on line and contribute your thoughts and experiences and skills to others and learn through those interactions. Increasing your awareness of the world and have a better view of how varied all our daily lives are and of issues that your voice can make a difference in.
Just get up and do what you enjoy without worrying about rather you are good enough at it to be doing it. If you don’t like it, start over or pull from it to build something else or just add to it like a stew that is always loved but has no recipe limiting it’s flavor. Let the child in you run a muck and begin to experiment in living again…shamelessly. Forget pride. Forget the arm chair critics that want to sit on their bums and tell you it won’t work or you can’t do that, not you. They are the ones that can’t do, not you, in that they see every effort as a waste of time. Even in a failed experiment, you have gained knowledge that you would not have had otherwise and anything is better than stagnation, doing something is better than doing nothing and if you are going to put your faith in something, why not put it into your own abilities?
We all believe in giving others a chance, yet so seldom do we give ourselves the chance. How many times have you seen a woman support her husband in reaching his full potential at work, in business, in his interests and hobbies? How many times have you seen a woman tell her children they can do anything they set their mind on? We forget that we have the potential to be the example of doing well and how it is done. The days of sacrificing our own dreams to see that other’s find theirs, does not show them how to do it only how it does not get done. If we are doing nothing for ourselves all our wisdom that it can be done becomes just talk. We can motivate our loved ones better by giving ourselves the time to showing it can be done and sharing how we did it.
So let the day take you where it will sometimes, add something new into life and give it a chance to grow into more, let the big picture in without trying to control it; instead of only seeking in life what you expect to be there, just go see what is there, revive some old things and try some new. And if you are absolutely dreadful at it, but still had so much fun? That’s the best you can ask for, in that you like it enough to stay at it long enough to become good at it!
My father had this sort of farmer’s parable, that really has served me well and in all things and it goes something like this…
There is this traveling salesman and each day as he drives his route he passes this large farm and sees the same thing over and over again. Everyday, the farmer stops what he is doing in the middle of his day and goes out to the apple tree by the road followed by this big hog and when the farmer spots a the best apple he bends over and puts his back into it and picks the hog up and holds him while he bites the apple off the tree and then sits him back down and goes back to whatever he was doing.
This goes on for weeks. So one day the salesman just can not take it any more and stops and says, ” I don’t mean to interfere, but I have been watching you for a long time and I have been wanting to offer a bit of a suggestion…wouldn’t it save a lot of time time if you just pulled the apple off the tree and handed it to the hog to eat?… and without hesitation, the farmer said, Yes, but what’s time to a hog?
Brightfire Woman All Rights Reserved 2010