Signs of spring are transforming our landscape.
How can we bring new color to our lives?
Does your sweetheart ask you what you want for your birthday? I love the answer 80-year-old Joanna Semel Rose gave her husband this year. Mrs. Rose, art collector, well known philanthropist, and former chairperson of the Partisan Review, admitted she had a “wild idea” for her birthday gift. She wanted to see all of her red and white quilts at the same time, and invite everyone in the New York City area to see them too, as her guests. Isn’t that an interesting tango--a gift for the birthday girl as well as from her?
Turns out, Joanna Rose has 651 of these red and white quilts! Thinc Design and the American Folk Art Museum, turned Joanna’s wild idea into a phenomenal exhibition at the Park Avenue Armory. Check it out here: http://www.folkartmuseum.org/infinitevariety.
Have you had any wild ideas lately? Something unlikely, abit out there, something out of the box? Wild ideas usually take us out of our comfort zone. That can be scary. Most of us like what is familiar. Familiar means easy. Routine. Convenient, especially when our lives are so busy. We are creatures of habit.
But, there can be such a thing as too much routine. Sometimes our comfort zones turn into stuck places or potholes. We might stay in an unhealthy job or bad relationship, just because it is familiar. We might keep a troublesome habit going. We might repeat patterns in a relationship over and over (like nagging or complaining) even though it is destructive.
Maybe you are in one of those potholes of life, and want to get out of the rut. We can create change in life. This is change we plan, not just react to.
Why initiate change? Why consider stepping into a wild idea now and then? Because change produces growth. And growth in our lives is a great thing. Growth can enhance our relationships and sense of who we are. Benjamin Franklin described change this way, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
Experiencing positive change is like watching tight bud unfold into a lovely blossom. Growth can make our lives more satisfying and beautiful. No matter how old we are, we can still grow. Even small change over time can make a dramatic difference. In fact, as a therapist, I often counsel people to work on making small changes that they can keep in place rather than tackling a huge change that is overwhelming.
We can make positive change in many areas:
· Perception and attitudes
· Goals and plans
A little aside is in order: when I suggest acting on a wild idea, I’m not talking about doing something destructive to yourself or to your family. If speeding 100 miles an hour, stepping out on your spouse or spending beyond your means comes to mind, well, let your thinking shift to another direction. Joanna Rose’s wild idea was something that pleased her and benefited others. Go in a positive direction, okay?
Change brings us to new places. The unknown is scary. Stepping outside our comfort zones creates tension. We often fear loss when we consider change. Even when we start to change, we often feel like we should change back. Others might want us to change back so things can be the same again. Being aware of this tension helps you get past it rather than stuck in it. Expect a mix of feelings. Line up support when you make a significant change. Keep the big picture in mind to help you get through each step in the process.
Oh, and, Happy 80th, Joanna! Thanks for your wild idea!