Life has been going at a breakneck speed since we welcomed the new year. In addition to my usual routine of caring for my daughters and our home and working full-time, I have been hustling to get ready to begin my new job and enjoying some special occasions with some even more special friends. It has been non-stop. Until yesterday.
Before my alarm went off, I received an unwelcome wake up call in the form of a fever, headache, and a host of other unpleasant symptoms. At first, I went into denial about how lousy I felt. I got myself ready for work and began my daily grind, but things quickly grinded to a halt. I waved the white flag and headed back to bed.
This morning, my wake up call was a bit better than the one I received yesterday, but I still was not feeling well enough to rejoin the real world. So, I am curled up on my couch with our two cats napping close by, which is not such a bad place to be on a rainy day. I don’t know if there is a legal limit for hot green tea, but if there is, I am fairly certain that I have surpassed it.
Since I have been sidelined temporarily, it has given me the chance to slow down and take stock of life in general. One pervasive thought that has been on my mind has been this quote by Mother Teresa:
Be faithful in small things, because it is in them that your strength lies.
Many times, we lose sight of all of the small things that lead to bigger things. Regardless of how small or big our goals and dreams may be, they all start with the decision to take even a tiny step toward them. That initial step then leads to more small steps that, hopefully, will lead us to the end result we desire or something even better. I know this to be true, yet, I still find myself becoming impatient with the process of change. I want what I want, and I want it now!
Knowing this is one thing, and putting it into practice is another. In a world of instant gratification, it has become increasingly more difficult to stay faithful to the small steps. I continue to be reminded, though, that when we do these small steps repeatedly and do them well, we learn a great deal about ourselves, develop new skills, and grow in countless ways. Those small things are truly a big deal.
Becoming ill woke me up in more ways than one. It reminded me to recommit myself to the small things in my own life that will enable me to reach my personal and professional goals, because if I cannot commit to myself, I cannot truly commit to anyone or anything else. These are some of my small, yet significant, steps that I practice:
Get adequate sleep. Apparently, 4-5 hours of sleep still is not recommended by the American Medical Association or any other association, so, I need to shut things down and shut my eyes earlier than I have been. When I am not well-rested, it derails me on every level, so, I am working on changing that.
Breathe. Despite not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, I know that if we are living, we are breathing. That said, I often notice that I do not breathe fully or deeply throughout the day, which would explain why my chest feels tight when I am stressed or anxious. So, I am being more mindful of my breath and breathing easier.
Move. Of all of the small things that I do, moving my body is one of the most significant. Nearly every day, I work out in some way, shape, or form, and it is a small step that pays big dividends physically, emotionally, and, even, spiritually. I also make an effort to move throughout the day, especially since my current job is sedentary. As long as I am moving physically, I know that I am moving forward in other areas of my life, literally and figuratively.
Develop a morning and evening ritual. Since the beginning of the new year, I have embraced a morning practice that gets me out of my bed and out of my head. I choose a daily affirmation and set daily intentions, and I revisit them during the day to keep me focused on what is most important to me. Before I go to bed, I also write down 5 things that I am grateful for that day, which keeps me focused on what I have, rather than what I lack. These rituals bookend my day with positivity, no matter how tough things may be at any given time.
Believe that everything that happens is for your greatest good. If that statement just made you cringe, trust and believe, I get it, because it makes me cringe, at times, too. At my core, though, I really do believe that, but it is incredibly difficult to embrace during really painful times. What I allow myself to do is to believe this, even when, and especially when, I do not know how something that hurts so very much could ever be for my greatest good. That very act of trusting and having faith has brought me comfort and solace when I have needed it the most. Also, when a difficult period has ended, I always am amazed at the good that came from it. Whether it is infertility, anxiety, depression, breast cancer, or a variety of losses, I honestly can say as horrible as they all have been, I am a better person for having gone through them and received many intangible benefits and gifts from each one. I would not want to repeat any of them, but I also would not change any of them, except the deaths of two dear friends.
No matter where you are in your quest to reach a goal or to bring a dream to fruition, keep taking those small steps. Even when you are not seeing the results as quickly as you would like. Even when you are tired. Even when you want to quit. Just step to it, because greater things await you. See you there!
That’s another story. . .
Categories: That's Another Story