Last week’s post on thinking small got me thinking about the flip side of things. Initiative. Thinking big and acting big.

This doesn’t have to mean acting dramatic. It means acting outside your comfort zone. It means having what my friends and I call ‘brave days’.

Thinking big and acting big simply means putting yourself out there. It means that you…

1. State Your Desires

In yoga, there’s a wonderful tradition of setting an intention as you begin your practice (or begin your day.) Your intention could be anything:  to have fun, to challenge yourself, to breathe deeply. The power in this is that it forces you to take a moment and ask yourself what you want from your practice, from your life. It positions you to take initiative, to move toward your desire.

When I think of initiative, I think of my friend Theresa*. One day, weeks before my wedding, she approached me and hugged me. Apropos of nothing, she said with a smile:  “Guess what? I’m comin’ to your weddin’!”

There was no time to think. She wasn’t on the initial guest list. (We had a very small wedding.) But I had an epiphany.

“Of course you are!” I said. And that was that.

She was right. She was coming, because I couldn’t help but see the love and enthusiasm she’d bring to our day. I couldn’t help but agree with her belief that she should be there.

True, I could have told Theresa no. I wasn’t afraid of losing the friendship. (Our friendship has survived many a ‘no’.) She would have been disappointed, but she would not have loved me less.

Weeks later, Theresa said the opening prayer at our ceremony. She blessed Jonathan and me with such straightforward conviction that when she finished, our minister said, “I’m not sure I should add anything to that!”

What intention could you state aloud today (even just to yourself?)

2. Embrace Non-Complaint, And Take Action

My husband Jonathan (who has asked me to write that he is:  “…nine feet tall, 500 pounds, and can bench-press entire buildings!”) is a master of the non-complaint. He’s had tendonitis for the last two weeks, and it’s definitely limited his mobility.

If this were me, I would be strongly tempted toward self-pity.

Nevertheless, he’s not resorted to self-pity or complaint. His outlook is patience. He’s resting, icing, massaging…doing everything to facilitate healing. He’s accepting where he is, but also working to change it. And that is a powerful position to take.

As he often says, “If there’s something I don’t like, I change it. If I can’t change it, then I do something else.”

Does this statement ring true for you? If so, how could you incorporate it into your daily life?

3. See Yourself Through Different Eyes

I had a strange dream last night. I was in a hospital, and I was there to help my mom give birth. To me. (Wild, right?)

In the dream, I used every ounce of kindness and humor I had to make things easier for her. And then the scene shifted, and I was holding a baby girl in my arms. The baby girl was me. And I was amazed at her. She was sweet, smart, perceptive and articulate. (In fact, there was no way this baby could have been a newborn. She spoke in full sentences. She had skills.)

When I woke up, I realized I’d been given a gift:  the gift of seeing myself through different eyes. I could appreciate my capacities without getting hung up on my disabilities. I felt released of any judgment toward myself; my inner critic was silent. (For about five minutes.) Even so, it was miraculous.

It made me think of how I recently spent time with my best friends and their 18-month-old son. He is a marvel, smart, daring and hilarious. We were all captivated by him. (Even when he pooped on our floor. Twice.) His presence freed us up to play and dawdle and enjoy dolce far niente. He seemed to shine at us, and we shone back.

Spend some time with a child, and you’ll see it:  we all have that capacity to shine. We were all born to do big things.

Final confession:  I’ve had the Lady Gaga song, “Born This Way” in my head all week.

As such, it’s fitting to leave you with this:

“Whether life’s disabilities / Left you outcast, bullied or teased

Rejoice and love yourself today / ‘Cause baby, you were born this way.”


*Names have been changed.

Share This:


  1. donna May 2, 2011 at 7:04 PM - Reply

    You do have skills!!

  2. Anna Wallis May 3, 2011 at 7:28 PM - Reply

    What a beautiful description of being present at your own birth! Can you imagine the delight God has in creating each one of us! If we only knew. My new daughter is teaching me so much, I agree with spending time with Children. A good tip for all of us. God even suggests that we continue to have faith like a child. I wonder what that would look and feel like? I am trying. Trying to see the wonder in it all and to see people as he does. Keep writing. You do have talents and abilities, I hope we both figure out how to silence that inner critic for even more than five minutes! 😉 wink wink.

    • Caroline McGraw May 3, 2011 at 8:48 PM - Reply

      Even ten minutes of silence from the inner critic would be great! 😉
      Seriously, though ~ thank you for your affirmation, Anna, and congratulations on your new motherhood! May spending time with your daughter prove a deepening experience for you in your faith.

  3. Britt Bravo May 4, 2011 at 7:05 PM - Reply

    Hi Caroline ~

    Just wanted to let you know that one my readers recommended you as a “Juicy Blog.” You can see the full list of 22 juicy bloggers here:


    • Caroline McGraw May 4, 2011 at 11:02 PM - Reply

      Thank you Britt ~ I’m honored & delighted !
      Being listed (& along with WhiteHotTruth, to boot) is a wonderful surprise 🙂

Related Posts