When my childhood friend got a Big Wheel, I was so jealous. It all of a sudden became irrelevant that I had a perfectly good tricycle and a lovely, long front porch to ride it on. I can still hear the sound of zooming on that porch across the wooden boards. None of it mattered in the glow of the red, yellow, and blue of the Big Wheel that wasn’t mine.
On the day of a playtime soon after her family got their driveway paved, a turn on the Big Wheel got offered to me. Delighted, I took a seat, maneuvered my feet up onto the pedals, and began the movement I had practiced over and over again on my old tricycle. This was going to be amazing, I knew it.
And then I felt that while my feet were moving, my vehicle was not. The wheel just went around and around and I stayed in place. The plastic wheels had no traction. I was going nowhere. My friend told me to start slow… it works if you start slow, she said.
I still carry the disappointment of the tire moving like sandpaper on the pavement. Big Wheels were supposed to be sporty and fast and …. Fun. I had studied the image in Sears catalog, and watched the television commercials with full trust.
There is a very obvious metaphor here about starting slow and building up momentum while we are doing anything new. But I am thinking about traction today, and how that stupid Big Wheel didn’t have any.
As I sat at my computer this morning, my mind was whirring, much like the Big Wheel tire. Have you ever had a day where you spin in the seat wondering why nothing is happening? Stand up, sit down, click a new tab…
When I become aware of my spinning mind wheels, I often simply stand up. Knowing that nothing is going to move forward, first I interrupt my mind’s cycle by moving my body.
If my brain/body needs more time, I have a list of traction actions that I choose from – chores, piano practice, crafting, a short neighborhood walk.
The key for me is to use a timer. This isn’t a ‘call it a day and go sew for the next six hours’. This is a 15-30 minute stop, pause, pivot, press in. I’ve built the habit into these activities that allows my brain to slow, recenter, and come back to the computer with a sharper focus and more creative heart.
What do you do when your wheels start spinning with no traction?
Did you have a Big Wheel or ‘just an old tricycle’?