A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.
Non-being penetrates that in which there is no space.
Through this I know the advantage of taking no action.
One may know the world without going out of doors.
One may see the way of Heaven without looking through the windows.
The further one goes, the less one knows.
Therefore the sage knows without going about,
Understands without seeing,
And accomplishes without any action.
Life’s a bitch. Life’s a struggle. Life’s hard. It’s not worth living.
You think so? If this is how you see life, chances are that it keeps proving that to you. So stop! Think carefully about the words you use here, for your words create your life. If your definition of life is a less than totally positive one, choose one of these instead.
…a learning experience for the soul…
…a feast …
…a game …
…a box of chocolates…
Or, as I asked my husband…it’s a map – a journey – where you choose your own path. Sometimes you will hit a dead end, and you have to retrace your steps, reflect and make a different choice. Sometimes you will know where you are going and how to get there. Other times you will park your wee overnight bag and say “right, where are we going today?” You might choose your own path and sometimes you will hit roadworks and you then have to take a different way. Or you might come to a roundabout or a fork in the road where you have to make a choice and then make the best choice that day.
Today, choose your definition – and enjoy the journey to all you were meant to be. And do let me know what your definition is…or might be now…
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.
My mum recently spent two weeks with us, and they were weeks full of good times, as there was a Jubilee weekend with extended family here, and then we celebrated her birthday. I love my mum dearly but when she went home again, my immediate reaction was to collapse on the sofa as I felt I could relax again. People who know me might say I never stop – but mum has a gold medal in busyness. She just never stops. I’ve only ever known her to watch two TV programmes consistently, and that’s Coronation Street & Wimbledon – and even as she watches, she knits – and the weeks leading up to Wimbledon were always the busiest two weeks of the year (to allow her to sit down for two weeks and enjoy the tennis). I struggled with this for a long time, but now I have compassion for the child she was that learned to be busy or face the wrath of a violent alcoholic father, and for the fact that the pattern was so ingrained that it has remained a constant in her life. As children do though, I simply copied the pattern, and even when I want to slow my life down, I consistently struggle to do so.
At the start of a year, I give the year ahead a theme – and last year was to be my Year Of Slowing Down. Except it wasn’t – I jumped into (and was catapulted into) my busiest year later – and ended up with no time to breathe, think, or realise I was going down routes I would not necessarily have chosen for myself. So at the start of this year, my theme was partly about finding balance, slowing down and nurturing myself. Half way through the year, I’ve spent the last few weeks reviewing my progress and realised there’s been an “epic fail.”
Except there is no failure – there is only feedback! So I’ve thought about what it is I need to do, how I am setting myself up for failure at times, how I try to do so much and why it might be that I’m always reading, researching, learning, doing. To be fair, I think there is greater balance in my life now than last year, and I start a new working pattern tomorrow, dropping half a day a week and still able to get a full day off each week that means.. that means what? The opportunity to exercise, write, catch up with people, housework, emails and messages etc? Well that’s what it has meant so far – and as a result,my life stays busy as I seek to constantly connect and encourage other, but forget to do anything to get me towards my own goals.
I’m blessed to have a supportive loving family. And I’m blessed to have some very special friends who continually support me – there are some wild women in there, let me tell you, each uniquely making my life better. Who better then than to enlist to help keep me accountable as I declare my intention to change in 101 days.
I want to do this for a number of reasons, but perhaps the main one is that I was diagnosed with fatty liver and don’t want that to get any further than it already has. It comes with fatigue which is a bit of two edged sword then, as it makes it harder to lose weight – and harder to exercise as the Catch 22 is that you are tired. Combine that with arthritis and a problem with my blood pressure that means it swings wildly but at it’s lowest goes to about 80/40 or 75/35 which just wipes me out. As I get older, it wipes me out more – and I could use this an excuse not to exercise at all. Instead, I’m just going to have to pick things I can do and find ways to work around this – as 101 days isn’t that long. Or so you’d think, but for me, 7 days doing this is a long time, and long enough for me to give up!
It’s 101 days because I picked a date to achieve certain weight loss, fitness and balance goals, nurturing myself all the way (just writing this scares me), but when I counted the days up, it came to 101 days! 101 is the number of completion apparently, so I thought that was unconsciously brilliant. And hopefully auspicious – but just to be sure, I contacted Team Caroline and asked them to encourage me to do this, hold me accountable in being honest enroute, failures and all. I emailed them and wrote this:
As you know, this is “my year of finding balance & nurturing myself”. That’s the theme anyway!
You are all dear friends who encourage & nurture me & I am so very grateful for you and for time spent with you. It refreshes my spirit however I interact with you I am always better for the time spent with my encouragers.
I’m going to be radical – for me – and go public – because in writing, I find I stay on track better – with Project Me – 101 Days, via my blog. And that’s scary as I’m already fearful of failing, or of being judged, or indeed of being less than perfect. And another 101 reasons for NOT doing it!
You all already know that about me anyway, just as you know I’m really not very good at nurturing myself, although I’m better than I was. I’m not very good at finding balance either. But I need to, because I’m at that stage in my life where something needs to change; and that something is me. I’m struggling with this fatty liver thing & these blood pressure swings leaving me very tired too often. And still, I want to keep growing, learning, doing, so I can change the world. So to STOP and just BE is a massive thing for me as you know. I just want to take 101 days out to change me. To focus on me. To see what needs stripped away and to learn what I need to learn to effect long term change.
So I ask for your support – Team Caroline – knowing I will get it, as much to make sure I am authentic & totally honest with myself as I blog my progress on losing weight, loving myself and nurturing myself and getting fit and healthy again.
Much love, Caroline
So tomorrow? Here goes – a journey into the unknown for me, as I put myself first. For 101 days, at least….
Wish me luck!