Midweek Mantra: Do it Every Day

When you have a dream, a vision, or a soul-shaking idea of what you want your life to be you are awakened to the gap between your current location and your planned destination. We are bombarded with success stories of people who have changed their lives, moved to faraway places, landed their dream jobs, or made radical lifestyle changes. We see the headlines, the big leaps that they have taken, the most daring acts of their journey. We don’t see the everyday slogging away that makes dreams into reality.

We see the ‘end of season reveal’, not the hour after hour spent on the treadmill or the meal by meal fight to eat well. We see the ‘New York Times Bestseller’ interview, not the days of staring at a blank white page and then the hours spent filling it with words, editing, manipulating, and creating.

It’s so easy to think that in our immediate gratification, instant data, and cheap fame society that creating something, changing your life, is just as easy. When we sit down to confront the real work of it, to take the giant leap, we realise that it isn’t going to be easy. It isn’t going to be immediate and there actually aren’t any huge leaps, just small steps and consistency of action day after day.

I struggle with this myself. Chris had it right when he reflected to me the other day that it seems that I want to do all the things. I want to write books, I want to blog, I want to teach people about a healthy lifestyle, I want to cook, I want to pursue further education. My problem is that there are so many things that I want to do with my life that I get exhausted by the thought and then end up doing nothing. All of these goals appear to need big leaps. I keep forgetting that it is the everyday action that will get me there in the end. Write a little bit every day and by the end of the year you will have many thousands of words to mould. I need to change the routine that leaves little time or head space for writing. I need to cut out the non-essentials and bear down on the creative moments that give me the most pleasure.

The same is true of any goal: if you want to run a marathon you need to train every day, if you want to lose weight then you have to work on that every day, if you want to build something you need to work on that every day.

Whatever dream or goal you have in mind you need to make it part of your life every day in a small but substantial way. One step at a time towards your destination.

Tell me, dear reader, how do you work towards your goal every day, whatever that goal might be?

Midweek(ish) Mantra: Live With Kindness

When I was a little girl and lost my temper because Mum had asked me to do something that I didn’t want to do her remark was usually delivered calmly but with gravity, ‘Amy could you just do that with a bit of good grace?’ As a child I didn’t really understand what that meant apart from try not to mutter under your breath, have a scowl on your face, or slam doors.

As an adult I understand a lot more what Mum was trying to say. ‘Amy could you do that with a bit of good grace?’ was really a lesson in doing all things with kindness. And that is how I try to live my life now.

Kindness

 

I am not saying that I am perfect. I am not saying that sometimes I don’t act out of spite, or annoyance, or desperation, or anger; but, for the most part I try to live with kindness in the things I do.

Kindness to others by doing that little extra, listening when someone needs to talk, cheering on my loved ones and acquaintances when they have achieved something, or just by giving a smile away expecting nothing in return.

Kindness to myself by treating my body right, taking care of my mental cobwebs, and working on things I am passionate about.

Kindness is not an act of the meek either. Sometimes kindness requires you to pull on your boots, take the muddy moral high road, and be the bigger person in a situation where sinking down to the depths would be a lot easier. Kindness is a conscious act: you choose to act kindly, it is not the automatic default.

Kindness can be exhausting, but most of the time kindness nourishes the soul as much as it depletes it. You get back what you give out to the world. Kindness begets kindness. You set a good example for the person you are interacting with. You set a good example for others by being kind to yourself. Kindness frees you from the weight of displeasure with everything around you, it makes everyday interactions richer, and clears that tornado of discontentment with your life. You are choosing your outlook and way of moving through the world.

So now I understand what Mum was saying. It was a message to live kindly, pay the price of kindness, and reap the riches of the soul that it brings. Even the simplest acts, when done in the spirit of kindness, thoroughly nourish the soul.

Midweek Mantra: Patience

I am so often in a rush to reach the next stage of my life, to achieve the next goal, to summit the next mountain, and this only leads to anxiety and stress. I need to learn to be patient, practice gratitude, and have faith that I will become what I know I am in good time.