Calming DownThe Way of Compassion

About Two Inch Shifts

By January 11, 2009 4 Comments

I recently gathered a dozen of my closest friends to celebrate a birthday with me. I asked each of them to bring to the party, “a secret of life that they had personally discovered” and were willing to share with the group.


My wise friend Tia told a story that was more than twenty years old, but which had never left her. She recalled a spring afternoon during her time in graduate school, when she sat indoors preparing for exams. She surrounded herself with open windows, to let the breeze and sunshine of spring into her study room.


A few hours into her studying, a large bumblebee flew into the room, right over to Tia. It buzzed loudly and flew around her head. Tia tried to help the bee out of the room, shooing it toward a window. The bee moved along in that direction, but once it reached the window, it flew right up to the closed portion of the pane at the top, and began banging itself again and again against the glass.


Tia tried to help — to somehow point with gestures and encouragement to the large open passageway just a few inches below— but to no avail. So she stood back and watched the bee, and smiled at the lesson that occurred to her:”Whenever I find myself in that striving, banging against the wall place,” Tia said, “I remember that, for me, just as for that bee, there is a two inch shift, a tiny adjustment I can make that will move me from constriction and obstacles, to a place of great spaciousness. From there I can go where I need to go.”


I love two inch shifts. I believe they are always possible, in every circumstance. We get stuck in all kinds of illusions — perhaps a thousand times a day. Despite the feelings of total impossibility, hopelessness, conflict, constriction we may feel, as human beings we have an inner chemistry and alchemy that makes it possible for all of that to be shifted through small acts that change our perspective — the spiritual and mental vantage point from which we experience the situation. As we change the vantage point from which we see a situation, the situation itself changes. Like the bee, if we move our own position, what was a closed window becomes a wide open way out.


I want to understand what creates those two inch shifts— the “shifting” tools available to us. My work is about what its like to live a life filled with their daily application. It is about the heart and gratitude and miracles that are cultivated over time as a result of shifting. And it’s about how the world looks from the vantage point of love–because most two inch shifts are fundamentally about moving from a place of fear to one of love.


I hope you’ll join me on this journey.





Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • […] and ideas about the “two inch shift,” an inner shift of perspective that transforms pain to joy and anxiety to […]

  • I’ve really enjoyed everything you put on your blog. How uplifting! And what a way to not only share your joy, but strategies for others to find their joy!

    Thanks for visiting me today; otherwise, I wouldn’t have found you!

  • Lisa says:

    What a great post! *Love* the story and the visual of what a HUGE difference such a small shift can make! Wow!

    Also, happy belated birthday 🙂

    What a fantastic idea for a party!

  • Cheryl says:

    Thank you Tara. This is a marvelous story, and practical lesson, and reminder that it doesn’t take one monumental action to create change, but that consistent little ones can create proufound change..ane even those seeming-little decisions and choices that can change out life in an instant. Thank you for helping raise the awareness (and reminder) within ourselves. Beautiful 2″ shifts.

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