For the past 5 years my life has been a hail storm of unlucky health circumstances. Illness and injury have delivered a tremendous amount of strain, fatigue, grief, confusion and pain. As a mother with young and busy children – and a highly driven career woman I have struggled greatly with finding a new pace that allows me to be productive and feel fulfilled, but not get exhausted. Honestly – I still haven’t figured it out. I just keep trying, sometimes succeeding and getting a long run of good days…sometimes failing miserably and falling back into bed for days on end.
My husband and I are optimistic people. We pride ourselves on maintaining a positive outlook and a sense of wellness. I think this keeps us both going strong, but can also be a bit of an achilles heal. It is harder to set a realistic pace when you keep forgetting you are a family that needs to slow down. If I had to choose I would pick this problem though. I know we will figure it out in time and in the mean while we stay active, engaged and looking forward. We have a very happy life despite our challenges, and have allowed ourselves to grow deeper in our love and connection by working as a team to get through it all. He says “under the pressures of life we have become a diamond – unbreakable and dazzling in our commitment to one another”. I feel it to.
We have discovered that no matter what – we can accomplish what we need to. The trick is to stay in motion, to be creative and flexible in our expectations.
For the past six months I have been coping with numbness, pain and fatigue in my legs and to a lesser degree my hands. Adapting to this has been interesting. I have always been a very strong person, and in fact physically I am still. Neurologically I have become less so – which is where the issues are stemming from. Sensations like these have a tendency to call us to bed. It is tempting to sit on the sofa and not want to get back up. Movement however is KEY to staying strong and getting through. I often find myself mumbling “an object in motion stays in motion” as I slip on my shoes and head out the door for some errand or task. I still practice and teach yoga – though I have to humble myself and accept that I can be tippy and clumsy up there at times. It’s all part of the practice anyway 🙂
A few weeks ago I took on a challenge I had been dreaming about for a while. I decided to solve our drainage issue at the front of the house by installing a dry creek bed. A sort of decorative irrigation ditch that directs rain water through the garden and away from the house. I also decided to create a rain spout water fall. I knew this had the potential to be beautiful. I also knew it was going to be a lot of work. For three days I dug, lined my ditch, fetched large stones and filled the area with gravel. I did every single bit of it myself. Heavy safety boots and bare hands. Endless canteens of cool water and a fantastic playlist rolling on spotify. I have NEVER felt more tired, pained, satisfied or happy than I did while working that project and the end result is (in my not so humble opinion) stunning. The last few rocks were massive. I am fairly sure that a lot of people would have chosen not to lift them. I did it. Carefully, using all my former training in proper lift techniques and some impressive guttural noises. I reminded myself with each knee bend and lift that I didn’t feel strong – but I am strong and that this would make me even stronger. One by one I placed, and replaced these heavy pieces as I figured out the best way to build and stabilize my waterfall. Without realizing it at some point I began to repeat a little mantra. “One stone at a time, one stone at a time.” I don’t know how long I had been saying this to myself before I became aware; but when I caught myself – it was a moment. One of those moments.
ONE STONE AT A TIME
ONE. STONE. AT. A. TIME
We can not take on more than what can be held in our hands at a given moment. Try as we might to avoid it – we must take every challenge in life this way. Rushing, pressing, stressing, does not get the job done in a way that serves us. It only drives us into a frenzy of fatigue and frustration. Sitting down and declaring defeat, or denying our strength doesn’t get us anywhere either. It only delivers a sense of longing and loss. When we plod along, slowly picking up and placing down. Selecting what is within our grasp and trusting our own innate sense of determination we can do ANYTHING!
Over time many drops of water can carve caverns through walls of rock.
Tiny grains of sand become beautiful beaches stretching on for miles.
Slender blades of grass fill fields and hold back the banks of the river.
Each of these things seems so small and insignificant. Yet every single one matters.
So it is true with us, and with our actions.
Every. Single. One. Matters
So – how do you get where you need to be?
How do you keep going?
How do you heal, or grow, change, move on?
One step at a time, one breath at a time, one decision, one action, one new experience or challenge.
I built a creek – one stone at a time – and I will build my life despite illness – in exactly the same way.
You can too! Keep going. You’ve got it in you!