The parable that encourages is not to hide our light but let it shine for all to see, is one that I consider today. There are many who feel hopeless because they feel they have little contribution to make. They see so many gifted persons who have done so much and they look at their lives and what they have done and are ashamed of their lack of accomplishments. I have a friend who is an excellent cook, who shares the delight of what she creates. By doing so she is sharing her talent that delights the eyes and satisfies the taste buds. She is shining her light, her gift which touches those close to her and those far away. I remember my grandmother -great grand mother actually -who baked over 2o Christmas cake each year and gave most of it away, who always left a little extra when she cooked “in case stranger pass”. She was an amazing cook and many came to take delight in her offerings.
Many hesitate to be and show who they are, because they are afraid they may fail or come up short, so they never shine where they are. They hope and hope that one day they will get the chance to get it right, like all the others who succeed. If we are to shine we must act out those talents, out purpose and do so not with fake modesty but with the confidence that we are doing what we meant to do.
Shining as we were meant will bring us peace. Knowing that we are using our gifts to empower and uplift others will in turn empower and uplift us. We just need to make sure that we do not try to confirm to a way of being that is not aligned to who we are so that we do not out our light.
I am sure that many of us can completely relate to the image above. Each day can be a total struggle as we attempt to stay healthy as we get older – to healthy during these covid days, days that have literal been the bane of our existence, in many ways. I have been more concerned with my health for some time now but the journey has not been easy. In simple terms it has been a struggle. I use to exercise because I wanted to lose weight and I did! Then put it on just as quickly.
So this year I have decided to take this one day at a time and to ensure that I stay on course I have decided to do the Chloe Ting 2021 flat stomach challenge . No, I do not believe this will lead to me becoming svelte and toned in 28 days. No for me this is an attempt to be consistent in helping me to reap the real benefits of exercise. I started to see exercise differently when I stopped taking my depression medications in 2014, because I did not want to be dependent on them to simply be a zombie. I felt that proper nutrition and exercise would help. Though I have fallen on the nutrition front I am confident I can regain a handle on both if I I take my time to develop some good habits. Therefore, January is my designated month to work towards getting back on track. It is not the month to get things right and to come out leaner and better than ever. What this is, is an attempt to regain the ground I lost in 2020. A year when I ate poorly – a habit that still plagues me in 2021 – and gained over 20 pounds (I have lost some of this by the way). I am doing this for the long haul. So each month I plan to do different challenges, not to chase some perfect number or a perfect body but to get back instep with taking care of myself. I am being kind to myself by not being too critical when I eat too much chocolate or sugary foods but I am also working on cutting down on it, to eat one healthy food per day on my way to eating better.
To keep myself accountable I plan to mark off each day’s exercise challenge that I complete. By the end of this first month I hope to have worked out a formula that is best for my lifestyle. I hope to be more flexible as I develop a new mindset about what types of exercises I can do, when I can do them and how I will get them done. For me exercise is about strengthening the mind as much as it is about the body. I need those endorphins that exercise can give me, in this stressful time. This year exercise will be my drug of choice as I try to find ways of taking care of me.
There are no quick fixes in life and I realize that there are many more things to worry about, but this is one thing I can control. It is one way that I can ensure I am doing my part no matter what happens, to be healthy. In this moment this is what I must do to give myself a fighting chance and so this is what I will do.
Slow and steady wins the race. This is a proverb that we have forgotten and if not forgotten, have chosen to reject. We walk up rushing and go to sleep rushing, with no in between. Instead of running a sprint maybe what we need to do is to settle into the long distance race. It can be disconcerting to see everyone pass you on the way up, but there is the cautionary tale that many of those persons quickly pass us down, some having jumped off the edge.
So let’s take it slow. When you feel anxious, take a seat breathe and wait. Wait for your racing heart to settle down, the fear in your gut to disappear and for your vision to clear, so you can truly see what is in front of you. There have been many times in the urgency of getting things done, that we make things worse than they needed to be. Slow and steady will get you to the finish line, where nervous energy will not.
When you feel like furling your fist because you feel that you are being left behind remember that when the hare left the hedgehog behind he did declare his defeat. Instead he kept at it, step by step, never giving up even when the sun beat down and his vision was blinded by his sweat – he kept going. But what is important is to do so step by step, not to leap for imaginary bridges and swing on fragile could. With both feet firmly on the ground, we can calmly allow our seeds to take root, become plant that eventually bear fruit.
This year I will be intentional about not being focused on the big picture, but noting each brush stroke. The ripples and dimensions of colors that enter my world will get their own special attention. I know it is important to many to have an iron clad plan for the year so that they can achieve something special. However, I want to step back out of the crazy push to be normal and get on a path to being sane. So I will take time to looking closely at those little idiosyncrasies that lead me to make the same mistakes with what I put into my body, being quick to acknowledge the little hurdles I have to overcome and slow to finding quick fixes. Instead I will acknowledge my faults and work through finding their weaknesses.
You first have to be honest with yourself. Stop chasing dreams that make no sense and stop nurturing lies that trap you in a world of constant disappointment. Take the time to write all that you hope to achieve, but in increments, achievable timeframes that counter grandiose disillusionment. Take time to learn about yourself and for the sake of your sanity stop living in denial. Trust yourself to be tough enough to do the right thing, even if you fail the first, second, third and so forth and so on. Take each day moment by moment. Stop and tend to your yard before you start looking over the fence. Stop and check in with yourself from time to time. Am I doing okay? DO I need to shut down my social media, or shut out thoughts that may harm my mental well-being? Those are important questions that require your attention.
It is never too late to slow things down so that you can be more productive. Despite all the chaos and uncertainty around, we do not have to go down in flames. Be present at all time and to do this you we have to find time to be still, to let things happen organically without trying to control the outcome all the time – we are not omniscient and we will never be. Instead, all we need to do is to take the time to find out what works within the frame of our imperfections. No need to plan to totally change, but to improve on the good and slowly let go of those bad things that have been holding us back. Take the time to breathe in and out slowly, moment by moment