Some things I’ve learned…

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s  not.  ~ Dr. Seuss

I like to have a project in the works.  Now that I’m working on this banner for the Spanish community church service, I awaken in the morning eager (after I’ve had my coffee) to assess the previous day’s work and to determine what part of it I’ll do today.  It’s a joy to watch it unfold.  It gives me a goal, albeit short-term, and it engages my artistic bent which is a more dominant force now than it was in the past.  Well, I guess the bent was always there but I have more time to devote to it than when I was working and taking care of my children.

I’ve been thinking lately about the wisdom of Dr. Seuss.  I believe that he taught us so much more than reading.  The Seuss quote above comes from his book The Lorax, 1971.  It’s a powerful environmental message.  If we had learned it back in ’71 when he wrote it our planet would be in better shape than it is today.  I don’t know whether it’s on any academic required-reading lists, but it’s certainly on mine.  When I was married to D, I had my very own Lorax (environmental conscience).  I’m happy to say he’s better looking than the one you see pictured here on the book cover.  🙂  D was a recycler long before it was the thing to do.  He cared “a whole awful lot” and tried to make it better.  I thank him for that.  He raised my consciousness several levels by being that way.  I don’t think he saved any of these beautiful “Truffala Trees” but I’m pretty sure he saved some other kinds.

Two days ago another blogger, lifeandothermisadventures, commented on my post about forgiveness.  She mentioned a book that she said was helpful to her.  The book was When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.  The same day I went down to my local book shop and found that book and several others by Ms Chodron.  I sat down to examine them and determined that I needed the one called Taking the Leap:  Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears.  My thinking was that 1) things fell apart quite a long while ago and 2) I still have habits and fears that I don’t want to foster any longer.  In the book that I chose there is a chapter entitled “Getting Unstuck.”   This title jumped off the page, I think, because my daughter and I had recently been discussing the fact that sometimes we get stuck in our “recovery” and we can’t seem to continue the progress we have achieved up to that point.  Old habits feel too comfortable and we are afraid to take that next step.  I’m always amazed when the stars seem to align and send me a powerful message.  The last star in this alignment was a statement in my morning uplifting message which I read in Spanish.  (I read in Spanish to try to keep my language skills up to snuff.)   I read that “too often we sit back and wait for others to change instead of taking stock and figuring out how we need to change.”  Of course I knew this already but how easily I slide back into my old habits and let my old fears consume me.

In summary, the things I’ve learned are:  I am much happier when I have a project.  I care a whole awful lot about the environment and about how I treat other people.  I can’t change others; I can only change myself and how I react to them.  I could probably use more structure in my daily routine.  And last, I’m going to Peru in May, 2012!  Woo hoo!


11 thoughts on “Some things I’ve learned…

  1. I’m going to Peru with three friends. One married couple and one woman who is a good friend. We had tried to plan a trip before but things fell through. This time we have plane and hotel reservations.
    The banner. What you see in the photo is paint but the paint won’t really be visible when I’m finished. I use bits of paper, fabric and “whatever” with appropriate colors to give the piece texture. The paint is a guide to help me keep the right colors in the right places. Fun to do and frees up my mind to thing about what I’ll write about in my next post. 🙂
    Changing ourselves, not others. It’s such a simple lesson and I’m so much happier when I remind myself to focus on me. You are right–Nothing gets done and no matter how hard it is, it is worth the effort.


  2. Firstly, fabulous news about your upcoming trip! Where will you go? Is it a group thing, will you “backpack”? How long will you be going for?
    Secondly, that banner looks beautiful: Did you paint it? Stitch it? You are a woman of many talents Pat…
    Third, thank you for the reminder yes, we can only change ourselves, yes, and I have found working through my fears, pushing myself forward really challenging at times. It takes a lot of will power again and again. But the effort is worth it because otherwise nothing gets better.


  3. Thanks Jacqueline. It is exhausting work indeed. I try to keep at it but at the same time I remind myself that no matter how old I am, I’m still a work in progress as you say. And yes I’m thankful for that too. Being stuck and not progressing is a terrible place to be.

    I’m very excited about my trip. Machu Picchu has been on my “bucket” list since I was a youngster.


  4. I can so identify with your need for a project. Yes we can really only change our self but isn’t it tough. Working through our fears is exhausting but so worthwhile – we are, after all, all of us works in progress (thankfully).

    What a fantastic trip you have planned in 2012!



  5. Our daughter’s favorite childhood book was (and might still be) “The Lorax.” As a small child she would cry when I read it to her. I asked if I should read another book and she would invariably say, “No, Mommy. We all need to cry about this.” We still have the book packed away with a few tear-stained pages from our sweet daughter so long ago.

    Oh, Machu Picchu, here comes Pat. I’m so glad the trip is working out.


  6. Love this post! We can only change ourselves – not others- something the life coaching I’ve been through has taught me and constantly reminds me!

    Goals, projects etc are the key! And wonderful you’re off to Peru – Brilliant



    • Thanks, Caroline. One of the major premises in AlAnon is that we can only change ourselves and our reactions to others, we never change others. They must change themselves. It’s easy to understand intellectually; it’s quite another to move it into your heart and actually do it. We keep trying, though, don’t we? And eventually we get it right.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s