“Clean up your own backyard – Change by example. Just be the way you want others to be and hope they pay attention.” … Larry Winget
I’m very blessed. Even though I have a tremendously busy schedule I am also free to change that schedule around and make time to smell the proverbial roses. I enjoy little things like raking the lawn for the first time on a sunny and warm weekday in Spring when there is no one around but the young moms out walking their new babies and toddlers. I like cleaning off the mulch that protected the garden all winter and discovering that nature is in the process of performing another one of her “ordinary miracles” by sending up increased numbers of perennial sprouts. I get a lot of satisfaction out of “Spring Cleaning” my garage and driveway, removing signs of disarray and the accumulation of the winter’s salt, sand and confusion and I think that I drive my neighbours crazy!
I remember one winter a few years back. My son and I were out there every time it snowed, clearing off our little driveway, making room for his car and mine and smiling when the sun came out and melted whatever we had missed leaving us with one of the only visibly black driveways in the neighbourhood. My attached neighbour had no such interest in shoveling his driveway down to bare pavement and one day, when the snow on his side had built up to ruts and he came out to find me, once again, shoveling, he proclaimed: “Susanne – stop shoveling – you’re making me look bad!” We both laughed about that, but it just goes to show you: you don’t always have to be in someone’s face about the changes that you think they should make, you just have to keep on keepin’ on and there’s a good chance that they will wake up one day and notice.
In general my life works really well. I’m happy most of the time and there are just enough challenges present to keep me from being bored. And on the path that I am creating there are few if any signposts. I like to think of myself as the person who is leaving metaphoric Post-It notes on the trees in the forest of life that say things like : “Happiness this way »” and “Joy around the next corner” or the always popular “Only 10 miles to YOUR Successful life”. You see I know that I can’t make anyone change, but what I CAN do is lead the most successful, happy and satisfying life that I can possibly imagine. And if I get there by taking paths that few have trod or by listening to the inner guidance that seems to have taken up permanent residence in my life then I believe that at some point, someone will notice.
Now I perceive that the people who notice have a couple of options open to them. They can be like my neighbour and wish that I would stop being such a chipper, successful, little sprite and stop “showing them up” or they can notice how happy I am and decide that they would like to have a happy life like mine as well. Then, hopefully, they will take the next step and ask themselves: “How the heck did she do that?” The latter are the ones who will start following my Post-It notes and breadcrumb trails – each in their own way until, one day they learn that they too can leave directional signs for those who follow along behind them. The way that I live my life becomes the Post-It note example of a different way of being. Will my way work for everyone? Probably not – but watching me and trying out this alternate approach to things sets up a pattern of being willing to try different ways of doing things and thinking about life. Once you get used to walking down paths that are different from the ones that everyone else is ambling along … well … making changes isn’t quite as scary as it used to be.
This week have a look at how you walk through your life. Are your reactions and your way of being so set in stone that your ruts now look like mountains over which you would have to climb if you wanted to change anything or do you dance down roads that few have traveled before? Do you tend to be a follower because it’s easier that way or do you lead by example? Gregg Braden says that we have to be the change that we want to see in the world. This week be the way you want others to be and let life flow forward from there. You may be pleasantly surprised where it takes you … and everyone else around you.
Godspeed and Safe Journeying Everyone