Tag Archives: power of small

Make Every Day a New Year’s Day: Small Samurai

One little step.  Take one small action.  Make small the new "big."

One little step. Take one small action. Make small the new “big.”

Right now it is December 10th but it feels like the New Year has already begun.   I’ve joined a gym and I am actually going.   I’ve initiated the process of exploring a spiritual community.   I’m not waiting for the New Year to get moving on projects and ideas.

It all started by going through my book shelves.   I finally realized that I was getting tired of having so many books that I hadn’t read.  I made the decision to go through each shelf methodically, reading at least page in each book and stopping when I got bored with the whole process.   Part of what has sparked so much learning these past few years has been my experience with All Japanese All the Time, which emphasizes working with working with the “neutrino” of small actions accumulating to immersion in Japanese.   The “mediocre choice that leads to excellence” can be applied to other things that you want to shift in your life.

Once I started going through the simple act of one page of every book on my shelves, I experienced a quickening.  I gave myself permission to stop but as I went through my books, the old dreams and inspirations were rekindled and I continued.   When I got to the bottom of the shelf in my bedroom, I decided to make a pass around the whole apartment, slowly reviewing, cleaning, reorganizing, tossing, and reigniting ideas, projects and resources.

The new year is approaching and for some people it is a time to set big goals and make major transformations.  But why not start the New Year now with some small action.  Make small the new big and start by picking one “corner” to begin with.   Clean out your purse (or murse).   Be gentle with yourself.   Celebrate and move on.   Repeat.  Make every day a New Years Day.



Don’t Panic Samurai

Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.  –Rainier Maria Rilke

Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit.  –George Fox

Don't panic.  Be like the tiny waterfall joining the big river.  Deep, man, deep.

Don’t panic. Be like the tiny waterfall joining the big river. Deep, man, deep.

Don’t panic and if you do, don’t panic about panic.  If you are trying to move forward in your business or your learning, a little edge is good, but panic is not.   Certain kinds of panic comes from trying to have it all at once.  I felt it one day when I listened to five different podcasts about WordPress and just started to worry that I didn’t know x, x, and x.   OMG!  If you try to have all your breath at once, you are hyperventilating.  If you try to have all your water at once, you will drown.

All of this has come up as I’ve been reading Zen and the Art of Making a Living:  A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design by Laurence G. Boldt.  First of all, the book sent me into a little bit of a panic because it is so big.  Second, Boldt’s rambling style can be a little overwhelming.  But I’ve been hanging in there, skimming and looking for gems because I’m at a point where I need to hear a lot of what he is saying.   Taking Zen a few pages at a time, I’ve been putting the thoughts I need to hear into my samurai notebook where there will rub constantly against my little ole at-times nervous samurai consciousness.   A lot of my recent quotes come from this book.

Though Boldt writes about setting out on a “warrior’s quest” for the career you want, he emphasizes doing it in a calm and persistent manner:

Being too concerned with what is “out there” [instead of what is] “in here” puts you in a position of powerlessness.  We encourage you to begin by identifying the results you want, then to move confidently and deliberately in that direction no matter how small those steps may seem.Children of the Sun

Here we go with the power of the small again.   I began to move forward in with writing and now guitar after I started to take advantage of small consistent steps as a by-product of studying Japanese.   The man who helped me ‘grok‘ this concept was Khatzumoto over at ajatt.com.   In a recent post, he talked about avoiding overwhelm of big goals, just as you might avoid looking directly at the sun:

The Sun is too bright to look at. It can literally, physically hurt to look directly at the big goal. Looking at the metaphorical sun can throw you into a dizzying tailspin of despair and avoidance.
So don’t. Look, that is. Enjoy the biggie 2, but don’t look at it.
Focus back here.
This one word.
This one action.
This one click.
This is all that exists. This is all that matters.

Take one step.  Don’t panic.  If you do, don’t panic about panic.