When I was in 4th grade, my favorite teacher did a class project where each student had to take care of a little bean seed until it became a plant. I placed my bean in a small glass container with some cotton and a bit of water. Each day from Monday to Friday we had to inspect the seed to see the progress. I was so fascinated by the transformation of that little seed that I still remember everything about the experience. I started jumping up and down when the first green leaves showed up. To me, that was a real miracle.
Image © The Imagination Tree ↓
Many years have passed since I first saw the transformation of that seed, but I have been extremely lucky to witness similar “miracles” with my children Natalie and Diego and my stepson Miro. Each of them has grown in so many directions in the last few years. I’m thrilled to see where they are now and I’m excited to see where they’re going.
Miro and Natalie. Photo taken by Bill ↓
I must say that Diego has had to work harder than everyone else in the family because of his Autism. But he has now mastered the art of cheerfully fighting for what he wants and needs, until he sees results. During the Holidays Bill took Diego to his first ski class. He had some coordination problems with his legs but the teacher was very patient and kept encouraging him to practice. When I went to the place to check on Diego I almost wanted to take him home with me. He had a runny nose, you could see that he was exhausted, but the only thing that he wanted was to ski. He finally did it while saying: Ameeeericaaaa!!!!! He also fell down in different occasions, but there is a technique for getting up, so he worked on that as well.
Diego at the ski class. Photo taken by Bill ↓
As we started packing to go back home after Diego’s successful ski class, I asked myself: What is it that keeps Diego so focussed on trying something hard over and over until he sees results? Well, I think that life has trained him to believe that failing is perfectly normal. That falling down and having a runny nose and being exhausted are normal things. But life has also taught him that there is nothing more magical that seeing himself do something that nobody thought that he could do. He loves surprising himself, over and over, and that’s one of the most inspiring things about watching Diego be who he is.
It would be good to keep Diego’s teaching in mind this year. I want to write a sign that reads: Surprise Yourself, and then I want to place it in my studio.
How about surprising ourselves this year? How about being our own project/experiment? Just like that little bean seed that I was talking about.I believe that what keeps us from growing sometimes is being intimidated by what’s difficult, and forgetting about the magic that comes after we overcome difficulties. Just like Diego, let’s be excited about pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone. If our nose is runny, let’s blow it. If we fall down, let’s get up. If we’re exhausted, let’s take a break. The thing is that if we focus on enjoying the process or growing without looking for perfection, but just positive results, we will automatically see our energy duplicate and our creativity duplicate as well. Now Diego is drawing different superheroes on skis. Attending the ski class opened a whole new area of interest in his life.
Cheers for a brave and adventurous 2015!