Slow and steady wins the race. Something we’ve probably all heard at least once. Even when we know what we want it can take a tremendously long time to get even part way there. Day to day it can seem like we’ve made no progress towards our goals. But, value the time and energy you’re putting into getting where you want to go, and remind yourself every step you take is an important one.
It took me a shockingly long time to go to the dentist and get my wisdom teeth removed – a fair few years after I was told it would need to happen. Mine were severely impacted, pushing the rest of my teeth slowly and unhelpfully closer together. With the beasties gone, there is more space in my mouth, and things feel a bit more at peace. Many steps were involved in making this happen. A fair few revolved around reminding myself paying to improve my wellbeing is a necessary and good thing sometimes. I also needed to find a dentist I trusted to look after the rest of my teeth pre and post surgery. Good friends recommended a local dentist, and they’ve helped me start looking after my teeth better. Things like brushing my teeth twice a day, flossing regularly, and keeping my gums clean are important, and shifting my mindset to feel like something is missing if I don’t do these things has been a slow and steady process.
Looking after myself has been a series identifying possible positive changes, then making them. I try to remember and look after the big things. Eat regular meals, get regular exercise, meet with good people for fulfilling conversation, sleep some part of every day, breathe often. These are all present in one form or another.
Refresh and relax the mind. This one is difficult for me.
For over ten years it has been difficult for me to know what rest looks like for me, and also when to rest. Now, I don’t only mean rest in the ‘take a nap,’ sense or ‘down tools and spend thirty minutes doing nothing.’ What I mean is find a way to stop negative thought spirals slowly taking control. This has been the slowest process of all. It is also one I haven’t completely figured out. Feels like one step forward then two steps back when I find myself with a foggy mind, unable to find the real me within the darkness.
But it hasn’t been that at all. It has been a process of finding out what really sits beneath the surface of all the doubts and fears and lack of forgiveness I show myself. The sermon one of our bishops delivered on Sunday referred to these things we sometimes can’t or don’t want to engage with as ‘getting down in the basement.’ It’s often not a desirable place, but some of the most magnificent growth can be made if we know how to slowly and healthily approach these big and scary things. For me, figuring out I don’t know how to value time I spend doing things I love has been a massive realisation. I don’t yet know what to do with this information, or fully understand how to break down that barrier, but learning a little bit more about it each day helps.
Step by step. When I don’t understand something I take it to God. When I can. When I’m not doing this, friends and family remind me how useful prayer is in these moments. Little by little I’m being shown how to spend more of my time being me, the real me that I love and who loves others.
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What is one little step you take that might sometimes go unnoticed, but makes a big difference?
YOU have taken that step. Remember that.
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It’s hard to see the big picture when you’re an inch away from the table looking through a magnifying glass. Take a step back and remind yourself of what’s really important and just how far you’ve come.
Keep on keeping on being awesome. PEACE.