by Daniel D. Maurer
When I think about what I wanted this website to feature, never did it cross my mind that I would end up talking about taking your shoes off when you enter someone's home, even your own.
But that's exactly what I'm going to do.
People think that transformation has to happen with big, flashy, radical life changes.
In fact, small changes you can make—right now, today—can have a large effect in your life, later down the road. Even in the field of neurology, science tells us that changing things up as you age is the best action you can take to keep an edge intellectually.
So what about shoes?
Many of us, especially those who grew up with tough mothers (I'm exceedingly grateful my mother was this way with me), understand that when we enter a home, we should take off our shoes, regardless of whether the host says it's okay to keep them on.
The reasons are obvious—you don't want to track in dirt, mud, snow, or other crap (literally) that's out on the street or the lawn. In many cultures, it's seen as a sign of respect.
Here's the thing: I'm a lazy ass in my own house.
Just today I waltzed into my house after a meeting with my editor . . . with my shoes on. I didn't want to take them off right then, because at that time it was only an hour away from an AA meeting I have to go to. I don't want to take off my shoes! That's hard work.
You can guess what happened. A track of muddy snow David Bowie himself would be proud to track is all over my floor.
So I storm into the kitchen, rip off a handful of paper towels, stomp back into the living room and entryway to clean up after myself.
This all happens while, simultaneously mind you, I keep my shoes on, leaving a new trail of muddy snow.
And now I'm writing about it.
The point I'm making is that my mother taught me well, but I don't do such a great job following through with habits I would like to think I actually care about. If you invited me over to your home, I'd for sure take my shoes off. But I can't seem to remember to do it in my own nest.
Transformation-Is-Real is a blog about change. All change. Why it happens and how. I had to change my life in a BIG way when, in a blackout from drugs and alcohol, I was arrested for trespassing. My life fell apart and I didn't know where to turn.
The Twelve Steps of recovery finally saved me. My arrest and eventual recovery was the catalyst my life needed to change. Really change. And stick.
Now, I'm still sober. I'm a twice-published, award-winning author. I'm working on books 3, 4, & 5—all at the same time. I got my family back. (Or, more accurately, they got me back.)
But I still keep my f*cking shoes on in my house. With mud and snow.
Why can't I change this little thing? Why should I? Does it even matter?
It does. At least to my wife.
But beyond appeasing the spousal temper gods, it's this: little changes matter.
We actually have very little control over people, situations or things.
We can't control how long the line will be to pick up groceries.
We can't control the level of idiocy Donald Trump chooses to display, on what seems to be a nearly daily basis as of late.
We can't even control whether our hearts continuing beating tomorrow.
Any illusion of control we have with things we think we do, probably is exactly that—an illusion.
But, tomorrow, I can choose to smile just one more time to someone.
Tomorrow, I can choose to pray, just one more time.
Tomorrow, I can choose to eat more vegetables.
Tomorrow, I can choose to kiss my boys' heads before they go to school and tell them I love them.
Tomorrow, I can call my mom . . . tell her thank you for bringing me up right.
And today . . . well, today I can take my shoes off in my own house.
People think that changes have to be these GRAND, INSPIRING stories. It's nice when we hear them. I sure like putting them up on Transformation-Is-Real. But, you know . . . it's the little things that snowball into something bigger with the BAD STUFF of our lives. Little bad habits grow into big, fat, monster ones. With zits and greasy hair.
And you know what? It works the other way too—little positive changes turn into bigger ones. And they shine. You shine. Incremental changes in little things eventually end up affecting the bigger things.
What small changes have you made? Did they make a difference with the bigger transformations?
About the Author
Daniel D. Maurer is the Grand Wazoo, Lord Webkeeper, of the website Transformation-is-Real. In the daytime, he pretends to be a freelance writer, but actually sees himself as the official cat and dog entertainer in the Maurer household. He's published all over and you'd be best to get either—or both—of his books, both of which you can find in a multitude of corners on this site. Daniel now takes his shoes off directly after entering his home, because . . . come on—don't be a slob.