Community//

The Little Known Secret to Changing Direction

What if making a change didn't require first knowing all of the steps it might take to get there? Sometimes just by pointing ourselves in a direction, we open up new possibilities. Only then, are our next steps revealed to us as we journey along the path.

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Photo by David Heslop on Unsplash
Photo by David Heslop on Unsplash

I glided over the soft snow on my cross country skis, the only sound was the swish of my ski pants and the puff of my quickened breath. Instead of travelling in the same clockwise direction that I always went on this loop, I decided to switch it up. I typically chose to climb up three giant hills in order to avoid a certain steep section which I am nervous to go down. Mind you, I am not the best downhill skier. I kind of resemble the Tinman on skis — stiff and upright, no bend, rocking a fierce snow plow.

I traversed in the new, counter-clockwise direction. Yet instead of enjoying the beauty of the dancing snow crystals in the air or the lattice of moss on the trees, my head was filled with thinking about how skiing down this upcoming hill was going to go before I even got there. It’s funny (not funny) how often I think myself out of the beauty of the present moment.

I finally arrived at the top, took a few deep breaths, practiced my deep knee bends, and started to descend. As I came to the steep section with the sharp turn that I had been worried about, I simply turned my head to look in the direction that I wanted to go. And as if by magic, when I turned my head to the left, my skis and my body naturally turned to the left. I easily glided to the bottom. The snow behind me revealed a perfect s-turn shape in the hillside.

Surely, the Olympic Committee will be phoning me soon!

Photo by Felipe Giacometti on Unsplash

I pivoted simply by pointing myself in the direction that I desired and the rest naturally followed. It seems so simple but this is exactly how we can start a new project, make a big transition, or invite in something fresh or exciting into our life.

I was recently chatting with a client, a photographer whose business is to photograph other people’s spaces. Although she enjoys her work, she mentioned how she wanted to devote some time to her own art and possibly share it with others, as she used to do as a young artist. She decided to set her intention in that direction, stay open and see what unfolded. She did not make a plan, actively seek out potential connections, or over-think it. She merely pointed.

Within a week she had three people approach her, two asking her to post her art on their Instagram feeds and one who wanted to hang her art in a local gallery. She simply looked in a direction, stayed open to what presented itself, and the rest naturally followed.

Contrary to what many of us believe in making a change, we don’t necessarily have to know how to get there. We only need to know the general direction of where we want to head. It often starts with a curious thought. I think I’m ready for a career change. I would love to finally get my masters degree. I want to start a podcast.

We point and then we take small baby steps in that direction. As we gently move along the path, often the universe starts to deliver us synchronicities, connections, and opportunities to hep us along the way. It reminds me of this famous quote:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

― William Hutchison Murray

goodreads.com/quotes

I used to think commitment was a big, scary word. Now I see “commitment” as simply pointing. At the top of a ski run there is a moment where one must commit to the descent. It doesn’t require any additional schooling or a certificate. It doesn’t require us to be the right age or a different background. It doesn’t require us even to be worthy of descending. It just requires us to point our skis downhill. We either want to try it or we don’t.

If we decide to do it, the commitment is more of an intention than a contract. We might start down the hill and a moose saunters across the run. If that happens, then we would most likely stop, and reevaluate. But it would be pretty silly to not ski down the hill at all for fear of the 1% chance of a moose sighting. Sure, it could happen. But would it be worth missing the thrill of dancing through the snow on a powder day?

Just because we point in one direction doesn’t mean that we can’t take a few detours along the way. We don’t have to have the entire run mapped out before we start the descent. Part of the fun is changing direction, taking a break, or pausing to look at the scenery along the journey.

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