A Matter of a Few Degrees: A Meteor’s Close Call

I am not a resolution maker, partly because I’m not a follower. I’ve also never been much of a goal setter.  I don’t like being dictated to by a calendar, or by tradition, or peer pressure, or even by a meteor aimed at the Earth.  Every January arrives and I ignore, resist and, yes, even look disdainfully on resolutions.

Here are three things that I do instead.

Small Moves

“Small moves, Ellie, small moves.”

That’s what Ted Arroway says to his daughter, in the movie “Contact,” as she’s searching on her ham radio for an open airway, an opportunity to make a connection.  If you’ve ever tried to tune in to a station by hand on a radio, then that concept of “small moves” makes sense to you.

Radio

Radio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s easy to get impatient while fine-tuning. Trying to zoom in on a specific point feels like it should be easy, should be done in one quick movement.  What’s required is a delicate hand, a gentle touch, a tiny shift.

That’s how I see changes taking place in my life. Sure, I can try to make big sweeping renovations, but they aren’t going to last.  The details of the change will get lost, the balancing mechanisms that allow permanence in the change won’t be in place.

I’ve found that it really is in the details, the minutia, the tiniest of adjustments, that big changes take place.

I don’t “resolve” to make changes.  I simply make a small move in the direction I want go with an idea, a change, a to-do list item or a habit.  It’s more like an experiment.  What happens if I do this one thing this way, instead of that way?  Then I observe the result.  Sounds simplistic?  Good.  It should.  It’s a simple thing.  A small thing.  A small move.

Taking Aim Again

There’s another concept I’ve had bouncing around in my head for a few years since I first heard of it.  May be it isn’t that different from “small moves” but it explains it best.

The idea finds its roots in two Hebrew words “chait” and “t’shuvah.”   Here’s a better explanation than I can write for those two concepts.

“The word for sin in Hebrew, chait, means “miss,” as in “miss the target.”  You have unlimited chances to take aim again, again, and again to hit a bull’s eye.  You have unlimited chances for atonement… unified with your own highest and best self.”

t’shuvah… is much more than just repentance.  T’shuvah is a return to our essential being, a re-alignment… a reorientation to our best selves.  In what ways are we off-center, out of touch with our own best selves?  How can we acknowledge responsibility, make amends, seek forgiveness… and return to the good? “ –Shofar Sermon – 2009 – Stewart Edelstein (http://congregationbnaiisrael.org/hihopage.html)

How often do I feel like I’ve missed the mark, been off target, failed in my aim?  All the time!!  Do I berate myself for being a failure? Not any more.

Archery Practice

Archery Practice (Photo credit: imarcc)

Now I simply employ the concept inherent in the word t’shuvah and reorient my aim, get back on center, pull back my arrow and try again.

The human experience is all about trying again and again and again.  Slowly working at getting it right.  Realignment and improvement.  Small moves.

Falling Down, Getting Up

Watching a toddler navigate and move is a fascinating practice.  Every time a fall happens, which is often, the adult wants to rush in and dust the kid off and reassure them.  Often the child will look to the adult to gauge how they should react to the fall.  If Mom or Dad’s face is full of worry, or sadness, then the crying and wailing will commence.  Baring any real injury, if the parent’s face is neutral or smiling, the kid will jump up and get back to what they were doing, or get on with something else all together.

An assortment of Guatemalan worry dolls made f...

Guatemalan worry dolls. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There isn’t any angst or drama or self-evaluation going on in that tiny toddler head. Bent on exploration and learning and moving forward, the kid just goes!

I try for  child-like in that way. Forward motion, learning, going and doing. Toddlers don’t seem to do much worrying.

They just fall and then get up and go.

 “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.” ― A.J. Cronin.

That quote is famous because it’s accurate and true. It plays a note that resonates in our brains.    Sing along. Hum that tune. Worry less.

So there’s a comet aimed at the earth?

Worry less, fall down then get up.

Realignment and improvement.

Small moves.

Let the stars fall from the sky.  I’m making progress a bit at a time.

*********

Today’s Post was prompted by this Daily Post Challenge: “Tell us about the three things you’d most like to change about your life, and make a bold, I-don’t-care-who-knows-it-because-there’s-a-meteor-a-comin’ assertion to the world that you are going to get these changes made. And that you’ll have at least started making them happen by March. When, erm, you’re probably going to wind up as dust.”

So tell me, do you make resolutions?  What would yours be if the world really were going to be hit by a meteor in a couple of months? Or are you like me, a non-resolutioner?

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Categories: Mental Health, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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