Thursday, October 18, 2007

Class #34: Yes, It's Thursday

Yes, it has been a while since my last post. That’s not to say that a lot of thoughts have not been percolating and developing in my mind – or that a lot hasn’t been going on these past couple weeks. I got stuck a in cycle of running on autopilot and couldn’t quite get out of it. Even my co-workers have noticed that I’ve been wearing the same couple pairs of shoes, maybe out of comfort, maybe out of a feeling of implied safety in a time where we’re all transitioning. You can imagine their surprise when I wore my hair down to work today.

Many of us are not only attempting to move from one season to another – here in DC we’ve been enjoying 80 + degree weather on a fairly regular basis – but trying to find something to propel us further, out of our cycles and ruts, to find our edge again. Something to help find our smile again. When teaching Calculus, the Mathematician sometimes likes to call this rut a Blue Funk.

Tonight in class our teacher told two similar stories, one we’ve all probably heard, the one about the girl standing on the shore, joyously throwing the starfish back into the ocean with a smile on her face. There is a man by her just watching, wondering of what good the girl’s actions are, given the plethora of starfish littering the coastline. The second parable was that of a forest fire. All the animals ran out of the forest to safety and the humming bird stayed behind, fetching water drop by drop, working to bring the fire to a halt.

What do I take from these?

From the starfish story, it’s the daunting prospect of all these starfish littering the coastline and the girl just starts with one. She doesn’t try to save them all at once. Each single starfish she picks up gets her full attention as she hurls it to the heavens and back into the ocean. She doesn’t dwell on that last starfish she saved; she picks up and moves onto the next one as if it were her first.

I initially had some issues with the second story, but after letting it float around for a couple of hours, I think I may have found something more in this parable. The humming bird is pressing on in adversity; not running for safety, not running from the obstacle presented him. He’s meeting the challenge, giving his heart to something he believes in. Maybe others will join in, maybe they won’t, but at the end of the day he’ll know he did what he could and maybe even more than he would have expected.

It’s easy to be swept up into the spin cycle of life, relying on those things we find safe and easy. Maybe some days you have to step out in those new shoes, wear your hair a little differently, go somewhere you haven’t before. Take a step to where you can joyously follow your passions and your heart.

But the key is that you need to take some action.

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