In 2006, a man named Colin Beavan initiated a challenge for himself and his small family. He endeavored to live in New York City with no net environmental impact. He created a blog chronicling his attempt. And the blog became a book…and then a movie. For a man who didn’t want to create an environmental impact, he certainlt had a cultural one.
A lot of people have put themselves through year-long challenges to write a book, or a blog. Some famous ones come to mind: Julie Powell (Julie and Julia), Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project – which I am currently rereading), and perhaps the master of the genre, A.J. Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically, My Life as an Experiment, Know-It-All…) They had an idea, and they went for it.
Right now, at risk of sounding terribly downtrodden and, dare I say, negative, I feel starved for ideas, uninspired, small and impact-less.
I am worried about my impact. I woke up this morning fearful in my lack of “impactitude.” I have been thinking about this a lot lately (today). What will my impact on the world be? What kind of impact can I have? What am I doing now that will have an impact? Why are the activities I am undertaking right now in my life, the ones that are most important to me, writing and teaching, being met with such little…response? I mean, I don’t need a trumpets’ fanfare because I am working on these things, but it would be good to get some sort of positive reinforcement. (Insert here the mandatory assertion that I shouldn’t have to look outside for positive reinforcement…the world will only validate me after I validate myself…)
Still, what will be my legacy? How will I serve? And why am I still living so small?
For an instant, my thoughts turned to having a kid. That’s leaving a legacy, right? Yeesh, not yet.
I am blessed to part of a community of amazing women, making real change in this world. I am so proud of them. But I am not proud of myself. Apparently, so I’ve heard, if I see the offerings of these amazing women in my life as having impact, and I want to offer that , too, than I must have the capability somewhere inside. Whether you see good, or bad, in the world around you, it’s reflected from within. That’s what I have learned. And I guess that makes sense. Perception is projection. But still, I have to admit I feel a twinge, the craggy-skinned, groady-sticky green devil sitting on my chest. I am jealous. Which makes me feel only more unsteady.
But something is plaguing me. Maybe I am not letting myself think bigger, because it would mean taking risky action. (That should be risky in air-quotes…because, really, what’s the worst that could happen. No one will die.) Maybe I am not open to letting unconventional ideas or prompts for outside-my-comfort-zone action come to me. Maybe I am repelling my greatest teachers. Maybe the fears that are so ingrained in my psyche that I don’t even recognize they are not “me” are keeping me from accessing my greatest potential. I am scared of not having enough money. I couldn’t possibly do…that…what about the apartment? What about my gym membership? What about my man? What about…? I am scared, perhaps, of truly putting myself out there and opening myself up to criticism. I am scared of having to work hard. I am scared of not having enough time. I am scared of what I think I would have to give up…in order to get what and where I want. Maybe I am not managing my time appropriately all together.
So how might I step up? How might I serve? I don’t know. I only know that I want to.
So I guess I need to ask for guidance. Where fear has blocked me now let love surround me. I welcome guidance. I welcome teachers of the highest order. I am willing to learn. I am willing to listen. I am committed to unblocking the pathways to greatness by releasing the green devil and inviting in the brilliance of the women that surround me. And I recognize the impacts don’t need to be tidal-wave-sized in order to have meaning. Even though my impact is small right now, it doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.