Being the Tortoise

Ha! I’ve just realized that I’ve been writing all about disciplined like I actually shared this post…I just found it in my drafts having, for whatever reason, not shared it. Oh the irony…that my scatterbrain stops me from sharing a post about the need to slow down and to be more deliberate. Well, hopefully things should seem a little clearer to you now…

When I was about 12 I won gold for the 100 meter sprint at my high school. I even remember my time was 14.7 seconds. I remember that because it was right on the cusp between silver and gold. Believe it or not I was actually quite athletic – hockey, netball, tennis. Until my knee gave up. Never long distance though. I didn’t set myself up to finish; I’m not a highly competitive person preferring instead the collaborative nature of a group. I’d either win, quickly, or back off and give up. If I did win that’s all I needed, then I’d go off and find the next challenge.

That seems to have set a precedent for how I live my life.

Jon will tell you I have no stamina, I will tell you I have no staying power, but then I look back and think on all the things I’ve committed to in the past… I’ve been married nearly 7 years, I have a degree, I didn’t use commercial shampoo or conditioner to wash my hair for over a year, I know how to drive, I can read and write, I’ve helped produce plays, helped Jon get his visas, got my own visa, I’VE MOVED TO A DIFFERENT COUNTRY; all through my own dedication and zeal. I know that when I put my mind to something I can achieve it and, generally, do it well.

A big part of developing discipline, for me, is in slowing down; not having to eat the entire bag of Trader Joe’s shortbread and butterscotch biscuits (cookies); actually putting away my clothes instead of letting them heap up next to the wardrobe (closet); taking a moment to savour all five of my senses while I lie back and let my mind wander.

Is that all I need then, to make the decision that I’m going to do this then just ride the breeze? You know, when I’m on a plane and we hit turbulence I freak out. The only way for me to calm myself down is to close my eyes and say to myself, “I’m a bird, riding the breeze.” It helps. The birds manages the air currents, gets to where they want to be, all I need to do is navigate the turbulence and then touch down softly.

(Featured image by Dan Wootton Photography, graphics by me.)

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