Part Three in a Series of Small Steps for Sanely Dealing With Big Changes
By Jennifer Hathaway
In part two of this series of writings, “Dream”, I talked about map-making: creating a map to our future. The logical follow-up to that step is that we have to start actually walking the road we’ve laid out. While the map is not the territory, it is the foundation for the new habits of thought that we’ll need to develop for the journey, and it’s the guidance system for the actions that we take.
When I was 32 years old, I lost an ovary [I still don’t know where I put it!] I had two weeks to wait for the tests to come back that would tell me if I was going to live or die. During that time, I thought about my life, and how much of it wasn’t what I wanted. I thought about what it would be like to lay on my deathbed and look back on my life, realizing that I hadn’t done what I wanted to.
I decided that I would stop putting off my dream of being an artist. I’d always made art, but I never really took it seriously. I decided I wanted to try.
So, once a week, every Thursday morning, I’d dress in office clothing, take my kids to the babysitter’s for three hours, and then run home and work on various little graphics projects that I’d sell for just enough money for babysitters, art supplies, and books. Slowly I built my resume and my portfolio, making a little more money. Over years I built my reputation.
Credentials come one at a time. All of mine were earned in the field, not bestowed by a school- although two acknowledged master painters trained me and gave their approval along the way. I worked and worked, and eventually I got somewhere with it.
It was scary as hell at first, but it was worth it.
One of the first things we must give to ourselves in this process is courage. Courage comes from the French word “Coeur”, which means “heart”. When we “take heart”, allow ourselves to feel solid inside, and act from our center, we are displaying courage. When we act according to our true will in life, we are being courageous: heart-filled.