Building Raindrops

by Patrick McNerthney

Some of my best ideas, wants, hopes, desires and passions, frequently fall victim to various circumstances. 

Take, for example, my plan to go duck hunting this past Thanksgiving Eve. My lack of success (which is great for those cheering on the ducks and if this is  you, congratulations!) was due to the following circumstances:

  • Really good weather (wind and rain tend to move the ducks around like that little wheel in the penny arcade).
  • Guy coming down the path to my secret spot which turns out to be not-so-secret, which scared off the ducks-in-proximity, after I’d spend the morning listening to their squabbling and quacking with anticipation… 
  • My own impatience: I moved to what I thought was a better vantage point, solely because I felt restless – and low and behold within four minutes  a pair of ducks flew by the spot I just vacated. I’m pretty sure they were laughing at me. 

Ah, such is the life of the intrepid duck hunter.

(See? They’re cracking up!)

But this hunting stuff is ultimately inconsequential. What about the OTHER circumstances I fall victim to? The ones that create situations where the outcome of failure is slightly more impactful than being mocked by waterfowl? Time to make a list:

  • As an author I’m doing the best I can. I wrote one book; I’m working on another, I want to write a novel…but the marketing and the lack of a publisher and the fact that it’s not a paying job and does anybody really care…?
  • As a freelance writer I need more work…but the existing clients and the emails and my calendar and taking the kid to and from school and other errands, yard work…
  • I have an idea for creating products with plant-based plastic…but my book and the freelance work and the funding and the lack of connections with manufacturers and the supply chain and the lack of a business plan and investors (oops that’s funding again…)

Other folks’ situations are no different:

  • The teachers at my son’s school are doing the best they can…but the vice-principal and the district and the board and the parents and virtual versus in-person versus hybrid…
  • Tech company leaders know they need to do better when it comes to protecting users…but complexity and the board and the stock price and the competitors…

Get the idea? The circumstances are always there–devious little bastards, full of malintent, set on controlling what we do. Circumstances demand the status quo (no change!), they’re bigger than us, it’s useless to fight, so we give in. Then later, we wonder why the status quo, frankly, sucks. 

While secretly, we’re subconsciously thrilled…because it’s not our fault. We’re not responsible. And maybe most importantly, we’re off the hook

Oh boy.

So what can be done? How can we persist against such an overwhelming foe as THE CIRCUMSTANCES without feeling terrified, overwhelmed, and hopeless? 

The bad news is anything that’s important involves risk, so we’ll likely feel scared at times no matter what. The good news is there’s only one option, and it has two components: 

  • 1)View risk as an opportunity. We might miss the shot, not hit the home run, or get a bullseye. But if we don’t even try, we will definitely “fail.” (Secret: Every human on earth fails sometimes.) 
  • 2)Put ourselves on the hook and grab hold of responsibility as tightly as we can. Simply begin as small as possible. In fact, about the size of a raindrop, so success can drip, drip, drip until it forms a sizable puddle, a stream and ultimately imitates Lake (name a big lake here). 

Drip by drip, our small work, the scary work, is manageable. Do-able during our week. Yet each drip slowly adds up to something larger. Just like a 1-degree course correction eventually leads to an entirely new place.

(So changing course from “N” to “NE” doesn’t mean much for a few steps, but after 100 miles we’re in a drastically new space.)

That’s how you build something that works. But this is the easy part. The hard part comes next: Get someone else to do it too. Together, there is no limit as to what we can do.

Fine Art Miracles (FAM) has just the thing you need in your fight against the circumstances of social isolation as you care for the elderly, children with challenges, and people with different abilities. Our programs, including Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, Multi-Sensory Sessions – and especially our ART2GO packages (December is all about Pablo Picasso!) – provide you with the OPPORTUNITY to begin building your raindrops. Those tiny things that, drip by drip, change the circumstances that impact you, loved ones, your relatives, your community.

This is because creative expression changes people’s minds. The act of making generates feelings of self-worth, confidence, and relevance to the outside world. It fosters connection within the community – and just like a slight course correction – over time develops a sense of mastery. 

Sounds like a pretty good tool to fight the circumstances, wouldn’t you agree? The best part is, you’ll WANT to be on the hook for this kind of change, because it’s fun! We’re talking pure joy here! So getting someone else to do it too is a piece of cake: Please reach out here to get started or share our programs with someone else!

Well, I’ve given up on ducks this year. Time to sort out my fishing gear. I hope the fish are around. And I catch the tide right…and my hooks aren’t rusty…and I don’t get seasick…and my knots hold up…now, who wouldn’t want to join me?!?!


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