I love the movie, Harvey. Have you seen it? If not, you’re in for a treat, especially if you’re a Jimmy Stewart fan, like me. In it, he plays a guy named Elwood P. Dowd who is friends with a 6 foot-tall rabbit named Harvey who no one, it seems, but he can see.
He’s just brilliant in it. There are tons of great moments like how he always replies, “Well, what did you have in mind?” when asked “What can I do for you?” by a bartender, a waiter, a store owner, etc..
He’s so in the moment, so open and up for anything, giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, so inclusive and curious. When someone says, We ought to have you over sometime, in that way that isn’t really an invitation but simply convention or an easy way to end the conversation, Elwood always answers, When? Now? This afternoon? Tonight? ready, delighted, game.
He doesn’t put anything off.
If you know anything about me you know that I love challenges of all lengths, 10-day, 30-day, 365-day. When done the right way (for me) they’re fun, manageable, and have taught me that small steps taken over and over have the power to shift things as deeply as giant leaps because the moment that matters is the moment we begin.
Other moments matter, of course–the keep going moments, the finishing moments. Gather them all together and they tell a story with a beginning, middle and end, a new story of who we are. I go from being a person who never finishes things to a person who clearly finished something. I go from being a person who longs to paint to being a person who made art every day.
We stop ourselves from starting, from answering that question, When? because we look to our past habits to beef up our old story of what’s possible.
But we aren’t our old story.
Let me channel Elwood P. Dowd for a minute: Dearest << Test First Name >>, what do you have in mind?
What thing or project or idea or event or place or skill or activity or experience or style fills you with excitement, energy, and vitality when you think of it?
Can you take a tiny step toward it, right now?
Remember, small steps count. In fact, the smaller the better. Three minutes of meditation is better than none when 20 feels too cumbersome and overwhelming.
Googling for nearby classes in something you’re curious about can take five minutes, as can clearing a workspace for writing or drawing, moving one piece of furniture so you can stretch your bod or boogie around, jumping in an art store, a stationary store, the drug store for a notebook and a great pen.
Never underestimate the discovery that can happen in five minutes of stream of consciousness writing. Start with: I always wanted…I’ve always loved…I’ve always been curious about…I wish I could…If it didn’t feel like it was too late, I would…If I knew I couldn’t fail, I would…and keep going.
If not now, when?
I mean it–when? No pressure, no judgment, just Elwood P. Dowd asking from an infinite place of interest, delight and readiness.