Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Running in the Bathtub

I was teaching a kindergarten class on safety rules and when I asked the students to give me some examples of rules they followed to stay safe, they eagerly volunteered. "Wear your seat belt in the car." "Don't run in the halls." "Never play with fire." My all time favorite though, was the child who volunteered, "NEVER run in the bathtub."

Don't you just love the unpredictability of children? Don't you love their fresh quirky perceptions of the world? After all, it is a good rule, don't you think? What happens to adults that we lose this spontaneity? We steer our lives toward the mundane, the routine. How we limit ourselves when we do this! It's as though we could be seeing the world in color but we restrict it to black and white. We could see the panoramic view but we choose binoculars instead. Is it comfort? Fear of the unfamiliar? What a challenge it is to see the world through new eyes each day. In order to do this we must first put aside our preconceived notions and rules. We must look for and expect the unusual, the extraordinary. We must be open to new experiences and visions.

A favorite quote of mine by Muriel Chen is, "We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore." How true this is! Lately my new ocean has been publishing a children's book. What a challenge this is for me as I step nervously into the world of self-publishing. This is definitely a new ocean for me and the voice of caution is continuously in my ear, "What if it is not successful?" "What if I spend too much?" "What if the product doesn't look good?" What if's haunt me. Yet I am also exhilerated by the sense of moving forward. I have sat on these stories for years while I tried to determine how to get them published, illustrated, on the market. It is an awesome feeling to finally have the finish line in my sights. Though I have not finished in as timely a manner as I would have wished, the journey has been very enlightening. I have learned a lot that will help me publish the next story in a much more efficient manner. In order to do this though, I have had to lose sight of the conventional method of publishing and move into uncharted oceans. I have had to lose sight of the comfortable shore of my daily job and take on a new role, a new perspective. Sometimes it is excitingly new! Other times it is scary and ill fitting. Many times I have to quiet the critical, doomsday voice inside me and wake up the encouraging positive voice instead.

What about you? Where in your world do you need to change your perceptions, see through new eyes, challenge your status quo? Are you charting new oceans? Or are you still stuck clinging to the familiar shore and running in the bathtub?

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