Of Charts & Comets & Compost

Last morning here. Nearly packed. I took out the recycling while the water boiled for tea.

Outside it was barely above freezing. The air smelled like spring, or what I remember from early summer mornings at our cabin.

I gave myself a treat. I took several more deep breathes as I walked toward the back door to head inside. I realized I was enjoying the cold, soft air; this slice of my day. I walked around to the front of the building noticing the chill seep in through the thin cotton of my shirt–the bare length of my arm already cold.

I turned the corner and the sun was lingering near the horizon, sky tinged coral. I exhaled and thought this is truly the only way to be happy. One small chilly breath in at a time.

Gretchen was right. You can change your life without changing your life. Inside change over outside change. Well, lead with the inside.

I was introduced to the book through the movie. I had been invited to the movie by a dear friend and healer. I agreed to go for the chance to get out of my apartment.

Starting out the day, I knew it was my mother’s birthday, 3 days from Valentine’s Day, and National Content to Be Single Day. I later learned it was also International Happiness Day.

It was a beautiful Spring day. No, I don’t jest. In the Valley of the Sun, Spring comes before Valentine’s Day. I was determined to make the best of it all. A movie–a big splurge for me, even at a matinee price. A chance to spend time with a friend and meet a group of her friends as well.

By the time the movie was over I was focused on International Happiness Day and not Content to Be Single Day. Because, I was not. Not content. And not single. A shift in focus was a welcome alteration to my agenda.

It has been two years since I saw the film. I just finished the book. Tomorrow it will be seven weeks since I started this leg of my journey.

Gretchen, the book’s author, speaks about her resolution charts. She explains how each month is a new topic or tangent and she sets resolutions based on those topics. The chart measures her progress.

Ruben spent December evaluating and trying to use all of her resolutions at once. Juggling and being judged–two things I try to avoid. Both can be necessary evils.


I have already said that I came and lived through these months without a plan. Evaluation then seems to be a moot point. Except that I feel the need. Going it alone makes me wonder if I have made any discernible progress.

So. I guess what I have to say for myself is this. In my own way, I have changed my life without changing my life. I tried an outside-in approach–change your address, change yourself. I have also worked on an inside-out tactic, or rather, multiple inside-out tactics.

My walk around the building this morning could be an indication of change.

To accept the beauty of the moment over the utility of the task.

This is not a task on a check off list, and not even a plan I could have executed. I am a successful procrastinator and have earned gold stars in self-doubt and hypocrisy, concurrently.

All of this pondering makes me think of bumping a comet, even if only a smidge, its trajectory is forever changed.


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