Ch-Ch-Ch-Changing to a Precise Center
By Jane Tawel
February 3, 2020
If you have never listened to, or haven’t listened in a while, to David Bowie’s 1970’s hit, “Changes”, please do. Here are the lyrics in case your LP record stereo or your 8-Track Tape Player aren’t handy.
Still don’t know what I was waitin’ for
And my time was runnin’ wild
A million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
How the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test
Turn and face the strange
Don’t want to be a richer man
Turn and face the strange
There’s gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time.
I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
And so the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through
Turn and face the strange
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
Turn and face the strange
Where’s your shame?
You’ve left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can’t trace time
Strange fascinations fascinate me
Ah, changes are taking
The pace I’m goin’ through
Turn and face the strange
Ooh, look out, you rock ’n’ rollers
Turn and face the strange
Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time.
I am getting older. I assume since you are reading this, you are lucky enough to be getting older too. I saw a post today that described me to a tee.
People think that old chestnut “to a tee” is derived from a golfing analogy, but it is more apt to compare it to the sport of curling. In curling it means: “The curling usage would seem to match the meaning better as the tee is the precise centre of the circle in which players aim to stop their stones.” The above GIF that is currently blowing through the winds of social media right now (thanks Amy Wentherly) is one that so exactly suits me to a tee, that I was stunned I hadn’t written it myself. It is also a list of truths about me, that my long-suffering children and husband could have written about me, but with deep senses of shame, and a host of cute grimaces and panicky, embarrassed desires to pretend in public that they don’t know me.
And while I have for most of my life marched to my own drum, it is only lately that I have realized how out of step and off beat I truly am, but I have also lately decided I am going to spend the remaining years of my life, being okay with that. Unless it really hurts someone else. Or hurts me. Or hurts the planet. And then I’ll try to ch-ch-ch-change.
I, like you, may want big changes — long and yearn for huge changes — in myself and in others and in the nation and in, well the whole world — the whole universe, if possible. I will be brutally honest. I wish I could lose weight and lose wrinkles and gain wisdom and wealth. I wish others, those people that I love most and hold dear, would find great success, great joy, overwhelming love, more time to relax, spiritual hope, and that four of them would give me grand-kids. I wish that our nation would start loving people more than they love violence and money. I wish the world would “Rodney King- It” and just “try to get along”. I wish the planet would take away all our human toys that are destroying it and recharge itself. I wish the Universe would reveal its secrets, especially the all-encompassing one about where God has been hiding out all these centuries.
Meanwhile, I have decided that making small ch-ch-ch-changes, (yes, sometimes haltingly, as if with a Bowie-esque stutter), for me, for now, will have to do. Small changes mean that while I recognize that I can not undo Time nor according to Bowie, can I “trace Time”; I can as Mother Teresa advised, not necessarily “do great things”; but adhere to the idea that “all of us can do small things with great love”. Here are a couple of things I have lately done to be changed by time and to walk in time to my own inner drummer.
1. PLASTER ON A SMILE. You know how sometimes, when you are driving, and you look at the driver or passenger next to you and you catch them picking his or her nose? Yeewww! Yeck! Ugh! Well, what I’ve noticed lately is that whenever I look at the person in a car nearby, or someone walking past me somewhere, I usually catch them scowling and looking all depressed, and stressed and angry. And I realized that a lot of people must catch me if not literally, then figuratively “picking my nose”, because I have to admit that a lot of times I catch a look on my own face that looks like I just saw a big booger or giant wad of snot.
We live in a grumpy world, friends! So, one thing I am trying to ch-ch-ch-change is that I am trying to do what I may not necessarily feel. I am plastering a smile on my face. I am replacing the natural tendency of my lips to sag downwards with the “face-lift” of a smile. I am trying to make sure that when people look at me sitting in my car, or strolling along the sidewalk, or cruising the store aisles, that they see a person with a pleasant look on her face. If people think I’m nuts, so be it. I finally just decided that I would rather that people see a crazy person smiling, than to see a crazy person grimacing.
2. HUM. I have written before about how humming activates the all important, healing vagus nerve. I hum. A lot. One oddity of this habit of mine — I always seem to find myself humming the tune to a song I don’t know the words to, like the old folk or Christmas song I have no idea what the title is, but that has a chorus that goes something like “Lye,Dye, Lye Dee, Lay Day”. Again — I just decided that if people catch me humming all the time, that seeming a bit wacky suits me more than seeming a bit angry or stressed all the time. In other words, I have accepted myself as a drummer who is a hummer.
Okey dokey, David Bowie, you’ve got me dead to rights. It is indeed “time to face the strange” in me, and stop trying to “grow out of it”.
3. BURY THE CROSS I BORE. For decades I always wore a cross necklace, just a small, simple silver cross, usually hidden under my shirt, where I could fondle it, like a talisman. I wrote an essay a long while back about why I wore a cross, and what happened one time when I was really mean to some people I didn’t know at a concert and then realized they could see my “Christian” cross shining out underneath my angrily, snarling mouth. And I did this in front of my daughter, so mea culpa exponentially.
I never wore a cross, really, as a message to other people, but mostly I wore it as a message to myself. I wore it as reminder of what I thought I believed about how I am supposed to live and love and follow in the footsteps of a man who loved others more than he loved himself. If you know anything about the Judeo-Christian Worldview, then that may make sense to you. In the last couple of years though, I began to feel that by wearing a cross, I was associating myself with a belief system that had seemed, in my own country to have morphed into something that can only be deemed “un-Christ-like”. It felt like I was suddenly sending the wrong message to other people in my own country of what now seemed to be populated by, at best, critical and confused “Christians”, and at worst, people who had begun to think the cross of Christ was a symbol of entitlement along the lines of the entitlement assumed and demanded by people who fly certain nations’ flags. I took a metaphoric knee instead of a salute, and I took off my cross with no small amount of pain in doing so.
For too many people, I feared that the cross of Christ, was now a symbol of punishment they wished to inflict on their neighbors, those who didn’t sit next to them in their pews. It had become for too many people I knew, a death sentence to Love, as it was to the person who they believed had died on a cross to save them. I began to feel a little bit like I was obtusely or adversarial-ly wearing a symbol that was being misinterpreted by people who saw it as a foreign invasion of harmful and unwanted ideals thrust on them; like an American flag being flown in a what I saw as enemy territory, but was really just a hurting, needy, foreign country. I felt that I was assuming things about a place that I had created by waging my own false war against it.
I began to feel that people who claimed the cross as their own, in my country, at least, had created a false war with other human beings to get something they wanted, rather than to give something the world needed. I felt like I was suddenly transported to a metaphorically foreign country of spiritually seeking people who didn’t want to believe what I believed, at least not any more, and it was my own fault. The cross I wore didn’t mean anything any more, because at least by association, I had been so mean, so prejudicial, so greedy, so disdaining of the truth, so unkind and unaccepting, so proud, and so self-righteous. The cross just didn’t seem any more to be preventing very many self-professing followers of Christ from being so very, very, wrong and hurtful.
I felt that my still wearing a cross was like continuing to drink booze in front of a bunch of alcoholics. There was nothing wrong with my wearing it, but it wasn’t the right thing to do if I wanted to love the people around me in the best way I could.
It wasn’t easy for me, to change a decades old spiritual practice that had meant something important to me. My breaking free from my feelings about wearing a Christian cross as force of symbolic habit, must be what it feels like for an old nun to stop wearing an actual habit, and wear a bikini instead. But I felt strongly, that I needed to make a ch-ch-ch-change, so that I was at least trying to be, “missionally truthful” and yet openly, humbly loving, of others who believe differently than I do. However, I still needed to be true to my need for a symbol to wear that would comfort me, convict me, and keep myself “on the hook” for living a more moral, loving, and purposeful life. I needed to find something new to wear as a talisman against my worst self, and that would encourage me, even if only secretly and hidden from others, to be better than I might otherwise be tempted to be. So, I bought a “Tree of Life” necklace.
The Tree of Life symbol works for my own particular (and yes, I admit, mine is a very peculiar “Judeo-Christian- Worldview”, a spiritual quest still in the making, that, compared to most who might claim it, would not be recognized as either kosher or doctrinally, denominationally normal ).
The symbol of the large, verdant, wide-branching tree is not only an ancient symbol of both the Hebrews and the early Christ followers, and hence, a suitable symbol for my own odd form of Judeo-Christian faith, but it works for a host of historical religions and for current paths to truth and spiritual enlightenment. The symbol of the Tree is claimed by those who believe it to signify The Tree of immortal life that grew in the Garden of Eden, The Tree of fertility, both physical and spiritual, The Tree of interconnectedness, whose roots, branches, leaves connect all of life to everything, and The Tree of our ancestors, that connects today to yesterday and will connect our children to us.
The Tree of Life represents different things to different people, but I like best the idea that it is always representative of life. New Life. It is a reminder that all life is precious. That each moment is precious. And that Time is so very precious. It reminds me that just as a Tree changes with the seasons, so too, can I change in the seasons of my own life. No matter who sees me wearing this Tree of Life, I hope, that unlike seeing me wear the Tree of Death, the cross symbolizing Christ’s suffering and death, will have a sense that I am for them, not against them. I pray that whoever sees the Tree of Life I now wear, might feel curious, but above all, feel there is always Hope if there is Life.
Just as the cross was for me,at least, The Tree of Life is about giving up the things in my life that are old, dead, and no longer flourishing, like dried up leaves on a tree. It is about Hope like Spring Time coming, like small buds that will soon flower, like seeds planted with love that will blossom into changed lives. It is also, like the cross about the human quest for immortality and hope for a new and meaningfully relevant life. Like the cross, the symbol of a tree should be about death to what is detrimental to the growth of the whole; death to selfishness and despair, and wrong living; and like a tree, any religious symbol we might choose, should be about rebirth to a faith in something Bigger, and resurrection to a love for and in each other, and about the kind of hope that may be seasonal, but will always be there so that we might all find The Way to be reborn for a better, kinder, more joyful, loving future life.
I do miss the feel of the lines of my cross, but I have made peace with the circular flow without end of my new symbol. The cross focuses on a real past event that then as now, should still bring hope and saving love to the world. The Tree of Life focuses on a future life, that with a bit of hope, and no small amount of pruning and nurturing, will be a reality of human growth and loving lives, flourishing throughout the ages in the Garden of Eternity.
4. GETTING SHREDDED. No, this is not going to be some tips about doing sit-ups or planks to shred your core muscles. It’s about something I finally had to shred in order to work on a different muscle of my core — my heart.
I am shredding the past, in order to let go of the future.
You read that right — to let go of the future. Most will relate, when I write that there have been things in my past that continue to hurt me, or things that I wish I had never done or that someone had never done “to” me. Most of us have scars that we continue to pick at or wounds that we nurse like overgrown, obese children that we won’t let grow away from us. And we continue to trace the outlines of our hurts, even when we can not always trace the time when it all went down. The trajectory of our wounds is always downwards.
I can’t ch-ch-ch-change those things that have already happened, and like most people, it has often been hard for me to let go of the past — the negative, the harmful to my happiness, the wounding and wounded feelings associated with certain events or people. Like many, I have had relationships, events, actions, places, and people who frankly were horrible, and I refuse to say they weren’t by sticking up for some stupid reality, some false and rather silly “free to be you and me” amoral and grey-conceived worldview. There is bad, there is good, and there are good people who can hurt you deeply and bad people who can sometimes be found in your very own mirror looking back at you. But even the flotsam and jetsam flow downstream with the fish and tadpoles and kelp, floating along this River of Time. Bad things are meant to be allowed to flow downstream, away from us, but good things and good people often have to fight their way back upstream. In this way, by letting go of where I floated or was pushed down in yesterday’s section of this River of Time, I can, in a way, control a very small section, of my own personal stretch of Time’s Stream.
And while it is most egotistically satisfying to blame other people for my wounds and scars, I also know that I, too, have been horrible and hurtful to other people, and that I can’t change that past either. Being humble helps me want to move on from being hurt.
For me, my recent literal shredding of things from my past, was a figurative acquiescence to the idea that I can never build a solid future with a pile of dead wood. Specifically, it was about the last two teaching jobs I had that I was “let go” from. The “dead wood” I had to get rid of, literally had once been wood — and now was a massive accumulation of books and papers.
I had managed to work through my feelings of helplessness, anger, righteous indignation, desire for revenge or payback, but most all, had managed to pretty much not experience, except occasionally my deep, deep sorrow and sense of loss. But I had held on to the hope that I could do it all again, somewhere else, with someone else, and rekindle my “first love”. I had held on to the stuff, even if I had “let go” of the substance. I have had relationships in the past with individuals, that I have felt that way about, too. This was, though one ginormous swarm of relationships, that included a career, a calling and years of having roomfuls of students.
Last week, after over a year of hoarding six extra-large, plastic container boxes and two medium sized cardboard boxes, that were all stuffed to the absolute brim with papers and handouts, notebooks of lesson plans and notes, and blank workbooks and cut-outs, and a veritable plethora of treasures, from my years of teaching, I finally decided to let go. I had kept and carted, throughout many years, from various classrooms, educational institutions of one kind and another, and a few college campuses, all of these treasured things, hard won from my years of teaching — the proofs of my labor of love. And when I was not “rehired due to budgetary restraints” in my last teaching job, I packed EV-ER-Y-TH-ING! –packed it all up and away in both a piqued fit of spite, a tantrum of fury, and a symbolic nasty woman hand-signal to the school administration and to the unsuspecting, and unbeknownst to me person that they would definitely replace me with, budgetary restraints my patootie!
But also, I was not only wiping out the evidence of my past at that place, but when I brought home, every single paper from my teaching career, I felt I was banking away some “savings” for my future. I really felt like a hero, saving my own life. This had been my life, or at least a huge part of it. I needed to rescue it and save it. I needed to save myself.
I had boxed up all my lessons and handouts, mixing them in with the adoring cards and emails from students and parents, enfolded them, encasing them in plastic shrines; and I had done so with an overwhelming need to save every single one of my papery progeny from the destruction of the evil-minded morons who were persecuting me. Have you ever felt so bad, so angry, so hurt and so hateful, that you wished someone would just die? I wanted the people who had hurt me, by robbing me of not just my job, but my usefulness and my love, and my students who were like my children, to, if not be killed, then as least to be seriously injured.
Who am I kidding? I wanted them to die. And so, as they had, in my mind, taken what was mine from me, I took what was mine from them. At least my memories and my papers wouldn’t die at their hands. I would save them. I could rescue the body, if not the soul, of my life as a teacher, and those boxes of paper would hold each body part, ready to be brought back to life sometime, someday, somewhere — in the future.
And all my papers and lesson plans and handouts, and lovely words of encouragement, all that I had thought of as my paper-doll children and grandchildren, lay for eighteen months, out side my back door, silently sleeping like the Romeos and Juliets of my teaching moments, buried in their plastic caskets in my garage.
But they were really now, just piles of dead wood, that I was keeping in the hope born from hurt; a hope that I could someday resurrect them.
Until on a Monday, last week, when I realized that, I am the one who has to die to those dead things out there in the garage. I have let go of the past hurts, and I pretty much have;but if I want to live a new and better, and hopeful and happy life, I have to let go of the future hurts as well. Because after a time and after a time of suitable mourning, using the past to set-up for an uncontrollable possibility you can’t design into the future, is like subconsciously picking at an old, but open scar. You don’t realize you are not using your hands to build new muscle, you are simply picking at scabs, reopening the same old wounds, until you see the fresh blood. I was mistaking what I thought would be the blood-life of the future, for the freshly opened scabs of the past.
Hanging on to my past, was like mourning a dead lover whom I had taxidermied and kept fondly rocking away the Future in Time’s Rocking Chair.
So, I stroked the secret talisman of my Tree of Life necklace, that is always close to my heart, and I began to end at last, and I began to begin again. I stilled Time’s Rocking Chair, pulled up my sturdy desk chair and set down next to me, one big box of Papers Past, and The Shredder. Like Dickens’ Ghost of Christmas Past, the presence of The Shredder shed light on things that at first scared me, and I wanted to hide under the covers by putting everything back in the garage. But I didn’t. And box after box after box of my past papers of happiness, died in the cause of my future joy.
My husband and son thought I was finally letting go of the past, but what I was really finally letting go of, were my hopes or desires for the future. I stopped being in denial, and ended my fantasy that I was keeping all those papers and handouts in order to use them again someday or that someone else might want them, since they were so amazing. I accepted the possibility, that if there is ever a need for lesson plans and handouts, I will find new and better ones. And I accepted that other teachers and students and my family will find much more amazing lessons and ideas than the ones I was hoarding. I accepted that I am mostly in my students and family’s Past now, and that has been a lovely, lovely place to be. But just as they have flowed further down this beautiful River of Life, I need to float along too. And all those boxes of Papers Past were just weighing me down and threatening to drown me.
Just like that old adage, that “if you build it, they will come”; I began to believe that if I built new dreams, different possibilities, then, what I needed to live them out, would come.
The first thing I did was pack up the good books and handouts that I knew a local home-school group might want, and I set them aside to donate and drop off. A lot of the papers from the garage, the generic ones or the ones that I had not created but had been given to me by an institution or a fellow teacher, I put in a big cardboard box that my local trash service could easily recycle.
But the thousands of papers that I had lovingly created with my name boldly emblazoned across the top, left margin: “Mrs. Tawel” — followed by the subject of my “expertise” — Writing or History or Literature or English 101 — those I methodically fed, short stack by short stack, into The Shredder crouching beside my desk. The ones that had cost me the most, in terms of time and love, the ones that caused me the most agony to shed myself of — those — I shredded.
Small stack, by small stack, for five straight days, not counting breaks for meals and sleep, I shredded, shredded, shredded. I shredded my core. And it felt, if not exactly good, it felt exactly and finally, right.
I had once just so, created and neatly stacked these papers, and passed them out to scores of beloved students, feeding learners with my own creative juices and hoping they would hunger for their own ravenous digestive-learning juices to flow. Now, I fed the hungry shredder machine. My family kept saying, just throw them away and get on with it. But I needed to destroy those memories and oh-so useful handouts. I needed to decimate them, and to ensure there would be no possible ability for me to hang on to a hope that I could ever use these papers in the future.
I needed not closure, but hopelessness, in order to find a new hope in my current reality, and a new joy in where my life has settled into, not for tomorrow, but settled into just for today. I needed to make final this act of letting go and also of hanging onto. I needed to “cremate” the remains, not continue to keep a dead hope alive or to preserve a useless body of work, by the costly life-support of my own wishful thinking. I had to shred and destroy, because I had to tell myself, that teaching, like life, is always a creative work in progress. It must continually be reborn, in all those who want to continue thriving in this “Classroom” we call “Life”.
If you can release The Past from continuing to harm you today; then maybe you can realize that with enough hope and love, The Future will be everything you never knew you wanted. But most of all, if you can destroy the things that are weighing you down from Yesterday, you will definitely find that you walk along much freer and more lightly Today. If you can do what you need to do to move on from the past, then you can do whatever it is you find it in your heart, soul and mind to do for the future.
Last Monday, I finally began to believe that if I jumped, a net would appear; and that if I shredded into pieces, these big chunks of the past, then something new and lovely and whole, for the present might appear.
And that is when an idea came to me, for how to keep the last particle-ized remnants of the past as things that still could be employable and hope-inducing for the future.
I had used all these wonderful papers and lessons as creative tools to help students and yes, myself, to branch out, to thrive, and to grow. I had always tried to teach from a love of knowledge, a desire to see students grow in every way — intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. My heart had stopped when all of that was stilled in the corpses of those papers. I loved those papers because I knew they represented what I had felt I could give to children, and young adults, including my own four beloved children. Those papers were my “heirloom seeds, that I had planted in and shared with those who would grow and use the roots I had laid down, and the fertilizer I had poured on, and the labors of my teaching and love that would ensure the growth of their future, of the world’s future. These boxes of papers were my own little evidences of my very own Walter Mitty-sized life.
This is what teachers and parents, (who are really just teachers disguised as diaper changers and teenagers’ loving, unpaid taxi-drivers), must tell themselves of course. We must keep telling ourselves in the dark hours and drudgery, that we are making a difference and creating important change. And while it may not always be as heroically or naively true as we imagine, no one can completely discount or ignore those real times when we teachers and parents have planted the seeds of knowledge that will one day flourish in the lives, minds and hearts of the children. My work as “grower” had ended almost two years ago, but it was finally the right time for me to accept that I would not be changing or growing students again in the future. But that didn’t mean that the shredded paper was useless. And it didn’t have to mean that I was useless, either. I could still use these seemingly useless papers to grow something. They could contribute to something again that the world needed, in the same way that the world still needed me to keep growing, and learning, contributing, and being useful. I was ready for ch-ch-ch-changing.
I used to pour out myself into creating these papers and mulching knowledge to nourish those students. There was still pouring out, mulching, and nourishing I could do.
Yesterday, I took a large portion of the shredded papers from one of ten large garbage bags!! that I had filled full of mulched up, tied up confetti-sized bits and pieces, and I poured those hard-earned lessons, into the large, circular, composter machine in my back yard. I mixed the little bits of used-up past and paper particles with a bunch of other small bite-sized morsels of useless trash. I added my past classroom stuff, made from the recipes of my dreams, to my past kitchen stuff, made from the recipes of my meals. I had for too long saved the things that I was told were not worth keeping — like me in my old jobs — and I finally was sharing those things that too many of us, erroneously consider garbage. I was recycling and reusing them and sharing them with the earth, giving back to Mother Nature that which She could now use better than I could, sending my papers out into the world to do good, along with all the old orange peels, and potato parings, and vegetable scraps, and fertilizing manure.
I twirled and whirled my old lessons around and around in my composter, spinning them like colors in a kaleidoscope along with the old bits of leftovers and undigested meal scraps. Today, stored in my garage, instead of boxes of past glory and battle scars, are bags waiting for their turn to be turned into mulch and into future hopes of nourishment and renewing, rejuvenating growth-essence.
Under cover, my shredded papers lie — waiting, expectant, ready to get back to work in an equally creative — different, but useful job. They haven’t died after all, but merely been changed into something new, ready to make something grow for the future.
5. Finally — WHEN I AM TIRED, I STUTTER.
Like most people who try to fit a standardized, strict meaning to David Bowie’s iconic lyrics, I have no idea what Bowie really meant when he said, “Time may change me, but I can’t trace time”. I honestly doubt he really knew, because poetry, like life is like that. Poets never really know the breadth and depth of what their poems might mean to someone else or even to themselves.
Isn’t that also true for every life? We will never understand what someone’s story all means until the last chapter is written. And you will never know what it truly is that you might mean, until someone else interprets your life for you, sometimes in spite of you, often hidden from you, but if you are very humble, and kind and keep on caring, it will be because of you. In the end, our lives will only have meaning by those who interpret in the way they live out into tomorrow, and into their very own, wonderfully special lives.
We do get tired, and we have to rest our weary hopes and worn-out dreams now and then. When I am tired, I st-st-st-stutter. These are just a few stuttering, stumbling ch-ch-ch-changes in my own life. For now, they may not change much more than my own small, insignificant self. Tomorrow I might have to take a nap before I can rise to hum or smile again. But with ch-ch-ch-changes, all things may be possible. Even tracing Eternity, may be possible.
Call me crazy while I stick on a smile, hum, wear a secret symbol to ease my fears of the dark, and let go of my future. But when all is said and done, isn’t it really only and ever true, that the world will never change in great ways, unless one is willing to change in incremental ways within one’s self?
I am finding that if I want my life to start to “suit me to a tee”, then it is imperative that I work joyfully, play hard, and rest easy as I seek my “precise centre”. Because when I can trace the present time around my center and be happy in my own quirky, seeking self, then I discover that there is a hopeful way, and a useful path forward. There are faint traces of Eternity.
When I am centered in my own present life, those are the moments when the “stones” that may be curled and hurled to hurt me, can at least, no longer box me up and shut me away as a useless thing, and so much dead wood.
Time has definitely ch-ch-ch-changed me with or without my c-c-c-consent. I am stutteringly tired of so much that goes on in the world and in my own soul and self. Yet, I will take the tiny finger of my destiny, and trace the outlines of a never-ending hope that, if we all join in together, may uphold the world’s future.
I may not be much, but I am enough. I am just enough to determine whether or not those ch-ch-ch-changes for a better life, a better world, always within reach of my fingertips will be only scars reopened from the past and left rotting away in the stored, useless confines of my own heart, kept to infect someone else. Or if those ch-ch-ch-changes will be the result of my accepting that growth always involves the death of one thing in order to bring life to some thing new. I can ch-ch-ch-change the often materialistic materials I hoard, into the freely given mulch of my love. And I can trust that there is Someone and Many someones, and Much in Life, that will help others to find their own beautifully precise centers.
I, and only I, can determine if, I can Gandhi-esque-ly “be the change I want to see in the world”. And as the Little Engine, I will keep chugging along, humming “I Think I Can! I think I can. i…think…i….can…..” If I can tend my own garden of a life, in order to create and grow something new for the present day; and if with wordless hum or a plastered on smile, and a bit of hope and love, I Think I Can, “in-deed”, grow something worthwhile for some future trace of time.