Begin

You are getting something right. You are actually probably doing a lot right! And that is where you start. Then choose the next thing. An area that you feel needs work, something to be deliberate about. Standing on the solid ground of what you do well, begin to work on the area that needs to change. But most of all, make your relationships your priority.

Ginny Sheller

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When I read Ginny Sheller’s thoughts earlier today, I smiled. It was good to be reminded that I am probably getting a few things right. Don’t we need that encouragement sometimes? I know I do. It makes me ask myself: “What’s working here, what are the things I’m doing that are really producing growth, that make a difference? When I get to the end of the day, what are the things I feel good about?” These are important questions. I often come to the evening with a sense of frustration over all the undone things, especially the things that relate to writing. I have so many plans and dreams, and there are days where no matter how good my intentions are, the plans get derailed. That’s okay sometimes, but if I don’t make some conscious choices to prioritise, days can turn into weeks which turn into months. Momentum and inspiration are lost and I get discouraged and settle into a kind of comfortable mediocrity. I tell myself that one day I’ll have uninterrupted time and energy and focus; then I’ll really get into all those wonderful projects buzzing around in my head. But what if, as Ginny says, I choose “something to be deliberate about”? David Whyte speaks about this: “…I was going to do at least one thing every day toward my future life as a poet. I calculated that no matter how small a step I took each day, over a year that would come to a grand total of 365 actions toward the life I wanted. One thing a day is a powerful multiplier.” One thing a day. I can do that, in my writing and my riding and my relationships.

I can look at what’s settled and sure, the places I feel safety and a growing sense of accomplishment, and I can build on them. Some of the steps I take will be easy and some won’t. I’ve felt sometimes like I’m jumping off the edge of a cliff and I have to tell myself that even if I don’t fly, it’s alright. Falling is all part of the journey, as long as I learn from it and move on. I can’t control the process, but I can be open to the lessons it brings. And there are often unexpected gifts.

I like what she says about relationships. About their value and importance. I enjoy ticking things off my list, and relationships don’t fit neatly into lists… It’s so important to be present to the people in our lives and to give ourselves to shaping connections that are deep and real. Such connections have sustained and nurtured me, and provided much needed encouragement and support in the pursuit of all my dreams and goals.

Progress is often so much slower than I would like. I wonder some days how I manage to get so little done. But I am moving forward, step by step. And that is what matters.

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One thought on “Begin

  1. Good advice, and super relevant in today’s over-demanding life.

    We women are too often critical of ourselves and afraid to accept praise where we well deserve it. As Christians we might feel it smacks of pride. But knowing the value of the gifts we bring to the table is a form of glorifying Him who gave us the gifts in the first place.

    If we remember what the gjfts were intended for (to serve God and our neighbour) we can happily discard all the peripherals that distract us from the important stuff and all the guilt along with it! Do I finish dusting or do I have that important chat with someone who needs it? I know cleanliness is next to Godliness, but it is not INSTEAD OF Godliness… Instead of worrying about what people think or might say, we should be thinking about what they really need. I’ve stopped mending the tears in the knees of my son’s pants because they rip open again tomorrow. I’m just glad he is learning the value of outdoor play… And strangely, no-one has expressed horror at their boyish attire. Guilt-free! Interestingly, the more I let go of the little stresses, the better companion I am to family and friends. If I can make a sad child/friend laugh, I don’t think they care too much which little tiresome chore I didn’t get round to today.

    I definitely agree with the one-step-at-time approach too. Chipping away at new challenges with a little daily regularity is totally manageable and eventually brings down whole mountains.

    Speaking of which, I have a littke chipping to get back to! Better seize the day, I reckon.

    Like

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