A few days before my mother’s first chemo session in 2008, I asked her if there was anything I could do. Her request was that I find two copies of the book Anyway, The Paradoxical Commandments by Kent M. Keith—one for my brother and one for me. When I was tidying my bookshelf this past weekend to see what I could donate or sell, I picked up my copy and reread it (you can see the ten principles for “finding personal meaning in a crazy world” from the book at the link below).
While I can’t imagine my mother’s feelings before that unknown, I can imagine why she wanted to share the book at that time with my brother and me. Rereading it, I was reminded of many of Mom’s beliefs about doing good.
But I got stuck pondering the sixth principle: “The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.”
Neither by nature nor by nurture did I grow up as a risk taker. Any big idea didn’t get far from my mind if it involved a gamble with $ or security or a possibility of disappointment or humiliation.
The original SLSR ephiphany that I had 20 months ago included a business idea for the property in Nova Scotia that I co-own with my brother—a plan with the goals of 1) living on the property, 2) generating income, and 3) being of benefit to others. After reviewing my finances last spring and getting a wake up call, I put the business plan on hold and decided to try to achieve the goals differently with less $ up-front. Since then, I’ve examined my decision to ensure I’m making the right choice and not simply giving up without even trying.
I guess I was double-checking that I wasn’t just scared of taking a risk on a big idea.
And I am moving ahead with plans to build a tiny house retreat* for the property. I think that’s a BIG enough idea for me for now. I can focus on BIGGER and BIGGEST after I get there. So my current directive is to take a year after moving back to Nova Scotia to hang out in the retreat, catch up on sleep, relax, meditate, slow down, do good, watch the sun rise, watch the sun set, and get familiar with the cost of living in Canada again. I’ll figure out then what semi-retirement employment will look like … and if I determine that I don’t need to work for additional income? More time to do good.
*I’ll write lots on the tiny house retreat in upcoming posts!
References and related links:
- The Paradoxical Commandments by Kent M. Keith
- SLSR: simpler living semi-retirement
- wall chart post
- tiny house dreams post