“I didn’t know it was changeable,” my son Evan said as we worked on redesigning his room.
A trip to Ikea was all he needed to get started. And a new ceiling fan. “Look, it actually moves air,” we laughed as he demonstrated the speed of the brand new, sleek-looking fan with black blades that matched his furniture.
“I can’t believe it took us five years to replace it,” I said. His old fan never worked properly. It was a nursery-like fan with blue, pink and yellow pastels – a leftover from the previous owners. “Well, at least you’ll WANT to come home on your breaks,” I joked, as he is only a few months away from starting college.
I left his room and went downstairs to finish some work.
“I didn’t know it was changeable,” I kept hearing in my mind.
It was that easy. The only thing he needed was to know that he could make a change.
I remembered the moment a few years back when he realized he could change an old pair of shoes into a new favorite one by drawing designs on them. I would NEVER think of painting my shoes! I never considered shoes to be changeable
The next day, my boys came back from school in an excited conversation. Blais, my youngest son, had a challenging day so he was feeling a bit down and discouraged. On top of it he had several big tests coming up and a huge scientific essay to write. He felt overwhelmed.
I listened attentively as he expressed his feelings and concerns. Evan walked by and said: “Blais, just change your mindset around it. Instead of thinking about the 41 things you have to do, focus on the smallest steps and get them done.”
“Yea, I know,” Blais said and hugged me. For him, that hug was the first smallest step he needed to take – the thing that offered comfort and a sense of being acknowledged. Then he pulled out a piece of paper, some colored pens and asked me to help him break down the projects into small tasks and place them on a calendar.
Everything is changeable.
Rooms, ceiling fans, shoes, mindsets, even stress and overwhelm.
Can you think of something that you might have not considered as changeable before?
Can our pasts be changeable? I didn’t think so. But as I’ve been working on my memoir, I’ve realized that, while we can’t change an event that happened, we can change our perspective of it. In this way, our experience of it changes as well.
Once, during my formal training as a classical pianist (that I eventually dropped in favor of broadening my music career focus), I had to perform a Mozart piece for my final grade. Toward the end of the piece, I blanked out. As I was approaching the final few measures (the ‘cadence’) I panicked. I knew enough theory behind Mozart’s composition style so I made up something that sounded ‘Mozart-ish.’ I thought it was nearly perfect, and I finished feeling so proud of myself for a ‘great save.’
My piano teacher wasn’t impressed. She met me in the hallway and said sternly: “Although it was a pretty impressive improvisation-skill you demonstrated, you don’t get to re-write Mozart! I won’t be surprised if they fail you.”
I felt reprimanded and embarrassed. I never meant to disrespect Mozart. I also felt excited. If I let my audience know I’m changing it, it IS changeable
I never really liked that this beautiful song about hope, ends with a line that would always bring me down: “If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow, why oh why can’t I?”
So, I changed the last line and the song became a powerhouse of hope and faith and courage.
I hope you enjoy watching it. And as you listen, think of something you might want to consider changeable that you haven’t before!