My Christmas gift to myself was a strenuous hike straight up the mountain across from Ragged Point. Mind you, it had been two years since I took myself here for my birthday. I’ve become far too sloth-like since then to be doing this. That would not deter me, rather motivate me to snap out of it.
As always, it is such a metaphor for life. What has happened in your recent days (or not so recent) with which you can look at your life that way? I made my way slowly … s-l-o-w-l-y. Literally, I did not look ahead (the road is so steep, at my height all you see is dirt anyway!), just one step forward. And then another. I was grateful for the rare leveling off.
I did not stop to breathe; rather, I worked that into my progress. It helped focus my determination. I stopped for 8 seconds twice to take a photo of the view. My knapsack was heavy with water and camera and emergency gear I always try to take. A trickle of sweat rolled down my chest — it had been sometime since I’d worked this hard.
I wonder how many other people have to set deadlines, goals, in order to get anywhere? I knew I had to have deadlines but didn’t realize how goal-oriented I had become (no matter how small … ”to that flat spot up ahead”) until this morning. I was a little disappointed that I was so tied to having to do all or nothing, to be the top of my game or go home, to be the best or not bother. Ding, ding, ding, ding! Realization struck.
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I worried about my younger son, how easily he gave up or didn’t try at all if something was too difficult. “You’re too hard on yourself! You don’t have to be perfect — you wont even know how accomplished you are if you don’t try!” Well, duh — who was modeling that behavior, I wonder? Good heavens!
I reveled in the aloneness of this hike. I could trudge at my own pace, not stop because I didn’t think I could go on. I could push. Why don’t I do that other times and areas of my life? When did I have to be perfect at everything? Sometimes I joke about how imperfect I am – obviously, they are not the things that are important enough that they do have to be perfect, like swimming or doing my hair. But, writing a book? Playing music? Oh, no, too scary. Can’t do it at all if it’s not perfect.
All the deep-seated wounds of our lives. … Not just New Year’s Day, but every day can be a day of letting go. Coming into the light, as it were, opening up those little pockets in your psyche that hide the grunge and dust bunnies of your being. Breathe hard, expand those ribs, illuminate and enlighten. Lighten. Lighten up.
Move forward, no matter how slowly. Like I always say, if you’re going to fall, fall forward. At least it’s still positive motion.
Perhaps I’d better start listening to myself.
Happy New Year, and may the world begin to listen to itself and realize we all want love, safety, understanding, enough to eat and a purpose. What will you do to promote that?