Small Beginnings, My Darlings
If you’ve been a subscriber to my blog for any length of time, no doubt, you’ve come across me touting small beginnings, my darlings, small beginnings. If not, then just know that I say that little phrase quite a lot. I’m a big believer in small beginnings (after all, we all started when a 0.1millimeter egg cell met a 50 micrometer sperm- that’s pretty small and just look at you now).
I think about the importance of small beginnings a lot. Too often, we tend to be dismissive when to comes to making starts on things which seem huge in scale and scope. But, we must remember: Despise not these humble beginnings. What that really means, dear readers, is that everything starts small. It’s the way of things. Sometimes we might think, wow, that huge thing ‘just happened,’ but I guarantee you, every ‘huge thing’ started small.
For example, seeds are small. Sequoia seedlings are roughly the size of a grain of old fashioned oats and they grow into some of the largest trees on the earth- estimated 165-180 ft in height and 20-26 ft in diameter. Point being, one should never turn up her nose at the humbleness of the beginnings, no matter how small and insignificant those beginnings might seem. Giants can come from teeny beginnings. (Or, one of my own favorites- Mighty oaks from tiny acorns.)
At the start of the new year, I think small beginnings is an appropriate topic to plumb. As many of you are doing- including myself- this first month of 2018 is a time to sift and search and seek out those things which we ponder in our hearts- our dreams, hopes, and vision for the future. January 1st is the day for New Year’s Resolutions, no? A resolution is a renewed or repeated solutions, or the process thereof of passing back into the solution. Passing back into the solution of what? The solution of how to approach achieving our dreams. And, in essence, your dream is your seed.
A seed is a phenomenal thing. Within the protective testa (hard outer seed coat) lie all the necessary ingredients to produce a living, thriving, producing plant. However, a seed on its own cannot bear fruit. It must be planted. It must break through the testa in order to root itself within the soil. It must have the appropriate nutrients from its environment- minerals, pH balance, light, water, et cetera. Yet, the seed, in itself, contains all the potential of a full grown plant. I guess you could say that the seed is the most important part because without it, nothing else would exist.
Within a dream is the full potential of all your unrealized hopes. However, to realize them, you must plant and cultivate your dream. Just like with a seed, it takes time and effort and care to nurture it. It takes preparation. It takes research and knowledge how best to help that seed grow. (Ask any farmer; apples have vastly different needs than tomatoes.) One must be diligent and relentless in the pursuit of one’s dream. Period. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
However, in the diligence, in the relentless pursuit, I guarantee there will be setbacks. There will be upsets. There will even be disappointments, though I hope those are few and far between for you all, dear readers. Just know, you’re going to come up against obstacles and obstructions, and sometimes you might even want to throw in the towel.
That’s why you need to write your dreams down, so you can keep them before your eyes. So they can become part of the vision for your life. Remember your Proverbs: Without a vision, my people perish.
Inspirational speakers, life coaches, and successful people alike will all tell you how important it is to have your dreams clearly written out. They may refer to them as your goals or your resolutions, but in the end, they are simply your dreams for your future. They will also tell you that it is paramount to keep those dreams in the forefront of your thinking so that you don’t forget what you’re striving toward. That’s why they will all encourage you to record them.
And that’s why a vision board or dream journal or resolutions list is so important. It’s the first step toward your dream’s fulfillment. In fact, in recording your dream, it’s the equivalent to putting an actual seed in the ground. It’s the smallest of beginnings, but it is of epic importance. For a start, it gives you clarity. Suddenly that thing you’ve been thinking about for, perhaps, years, is written out in front of you. It’s got gravitas. It has substance. It’s the beginning of its physical existence. It’s the start, humble though it may be.
I did an vision board for the first time last year; it was instrumental in helping me to keep focused on what I wanted to see happen in my life. This year, I’m setting aside time- the next two weeks, to be precise- to fully understand what I am hoping for this year. I will look at what I laid out last year, how far I’ve come, and where I have yet to go. I’ll make sure that what I had there hasn’t morphed into a new direction or a new dream. Then I will record my hopes.
I can only encourage you to do the same. It’s not a frivolous activity. It’s not some self-help gobble-de-gook or new fangled mumbo-jumbo. It’s simply taking time out- an hour or two, a few days, whatever you can manage- to remind yourself of what you hope for and dream about. Your hopes are very important. The bible tells us that Hope is one of the three things that endure. Superman says that Hope can never die. If it’s that important, then we should give it time. Even if you remember something from your childhood that you had hoped to do or see happen in your life, and still hope to do or see happen, it’s important. It’s a part of you, and you, dear reader, are important. So, write it down, record it, remind yourself of it. Let yourself hope. Remember your Dickinson:
Hope is the thing with feathers-
that perches in the soul-
and sings the tune without the words-
and never stops- at all-
And sweetest- in the Gale- is heard-
And sore must be the storm-
That could abash the little Bird-
That kept so many warm-
I’ve heard it in the chillest land-
And on the strangest Sea-
Yet- never- in Extremity,
It asked a crumb- of me.
Your hopes and dreams ask nothing of you. They simply wish to fill your life with possibilities. They will be there when the storms of life buffet and beset you to inspire and carry you through. And when you write them down, they act as tangible reminders to who you are in your innermost being and what you want to see manifest in the world around you.
I hope you’ll join me this year and record your vision; write it down, draw it out, paint it, collage it, whatever, just get it out of its nebulous form in your mind and onto something concrete that you can see.
Oh, and another thing, when you’re recording, don’t let yourself get caught up in the seeming impossibility of what you’re hoping for in your life. Trust me on this, I’m preaching to the choir here. I get how even reading a simple hope-filled sentence can be daunting, especially when you have no clue- not one iota*- how it could happen. Just write it down anyway and consider it your planted seed. It’s small, it’s humble, but it’s a beginning.
Do not despise these humble beginnings.
*A bonus etymological tidbit here: the Greek letter iota is derived from the Hebrew yud which is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. (It actually looks like an apostrophe, it’s so small and seemingly insignificant.) But, here’s something very awesome about that little letter. It’s the most important letter in the whole Hebrew alphabet because it is that letter which starts some of the most important words in the Hebraic culture- such as the word for God or Israel or Jerusalem. In Christianity, Jesus begins with the yud, too, and to a Christian, that is the most important word he/she will ever learn. So, yud may be the smallest, but it is the mightiest. Just like the dreams you’ll record this year- tiny, but mighty. So, how’s that for a little alphabetical encouragement. Even letters highlight this truth.