Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tumbling out of old patterns into a new world

Tumbling (Click here for gallery) 
"Try to make one positive change
in your life today. Just one little thing.
Do the same tomorrow. You won't
believe your life in a year."

That was the motivational inspiration I received this morning from a friend's newsletter titled, “Potential Within.” 

I mostly ignored it.

A few hours later, though, I was pulled back, thinking: that’s how we get from one year to the next, doing a thousand small things every day, some with intention, some on auto pilot, and some responding to the whims of the world. 

Last November (2016) I did two things I had always wanted to do. I went to Esalen for a Robert Moss dream workshop and I “won” NaNoWriMo by writing a 55,000-word draft of a novel. (Everyone who wrote 50,000 words or more was designated a winner.) I thought both of those events would be part of the future I imagined and intended, that of a novelist traveling the world writing stories about the adventures of an older woman.

Life seems to have had other plans.

Included in my plan to be a novelist was honing my story telling skills, so I volunteered for the Sierra Writers’ Conference in Grass Valley, California, and designed and published a learning journal that could be used at other writers’ conferences. That journal opened the door to the Central Coast Writers’ Conference and gained me access to the San Miguel Writers’ Conference which was to be held in February, 2017. Everything was on track.

Then nuggets of change began dropping into my life. A friend made plans to visit on her way to live in Mexico. Two other friends started talking seriously about moving to Mexico, and I was making arrangements for the writers’ conference … in Mexico. To top it all off, Grass Valley had a rainy year … six months of fairly continuous rain. 

Soggy and needing sunshine, I booked a week in sunny Ajijic on Lake Chapala as a way to relax and dry out before the writers’ conference in San Miguel de Allende. Two days after arriving in Ajijic, I knew this was where I wanted to live. By May, I had moved into my new Mexican apartment. Shortly thereafter I recognized that writing novels was no longer calling me. Instead, I wanted make art from photos taken in the colorful new world around me.

So, I have to ask:
What small change would change my world?
And, do I want my world to change?

A year ago, I wouldn’t have believed the world I’m in today. However, it wasn’t created by deliberately choosing to make small changes. If it hadn’t been for an exceptionally rainy year and my friends talking about Mexico and the happenstance of being invited to a Mexican writers’ conference, I’m not sure I would be here. It seemed more like tumbling into a new world, pulled by gravity, willingly letting go of old habits and commitments, falling gently into a different country, a different way of living.
A favorite wall here in Ajijic

So, now I’m torn. I like the idea of making one small, positive change and having it turn into something wonderful. However, if each small change has the power to take us to a world we can’t currently imagine, that’s one powerful little action. Which to choose, knowing that any small change might be attached to a future beyond belief? 

Do I want such a different future? I like where I am and what I’m doing. However, there are amazing futures I truly can’t imagine, but I also know there are some I’d rather not encourage. Maybe the magic is in doing something that makes me stronger, healthier, and more capable of following any compelling path that opens up to me. 

Whichever world shows up a year from now, it will take my whole self to be ready to embrace it. What is a small, positive change that might ready me for a world beyond belief a year from now? A change in diet or exercise? Study Spanish more? Deepen my understanding of photography and art? More meditation and yoga? More contribution to my new community? More gratitude and generosity?

Lake Chapala sunset
With those questions spinning through my brain, I sit here looking at my patio and see a tiny bit of water reflecting the sun and flowers surrounding it. A brown bird walks through the water, picking at bits of seeds on the ground, while a hummingbird flutters the cascading jasmine. Three orange butterflies fly through the passion vines being stirred by a breeze, and in the distance, a dog barks its discontent and a childish voice chirps. Church bells add their notes and then leave me with a stillness so deep that I feel my blood surging down my arms as I experience a new awareness of the life outside my front door.

Gradually, the image of tumbling comes back to me. Tumbling out of old patterns; tumbling into new worlds. When I stop and become more aware of whatever’s in front of me, the kaleidoscopic pattern changes, setting in motion unseen actions, leading me to that now-unknowable place in the distant future. 
Stillness leads to greater awareness of my micro-world of self and surroundings, and connects me to the larger world, attuning me to myself and the Universe around me. 

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