I was thinking about my last essay, “Take a little Step,” and a couple of things went through my mind – there are lots of short circuits when you get old. One thing should have been obvious to me – taking even a little step does take courage. Similar to a baby learning to walk. Probably more so now as we don’t have anyone holding our hands. But there are now more people beyond family cheering us on. We’ve expanded our circle of friends since we were one-year old. (Heck, don’t forget, I’m rooting for you!)
So a baby gets up after falling and takes a few more steps. Smiles too. Doesn’t even care if the diaper is full – or whatever that “means” for us now. Who cares? Applaud! So should it be with us. Trying is what counts. We know the results will follow even if we can’t run a four-minute mile (giving away my age here).
It doesn’t mean the first step is easy. And it may take a certain confidence and the ability to get psyched up first, like jumping in a cold pool when you’re tired and don’t want to swim laps no matter how good it’s going to be for you. I know I need to think better about myself, never to the point of conceit, and also affirm that I’m worth the extra effort. The at-a-boys will come with time.
Be worth it! Time to go to that mirror on the wall.
Take a look at your reflection. Let your breath out and breathe in an out a couple of times becoming aware of the sounds of your breath, your shoulders – are they up, then release them; is there tension in your face – see if you can pinpoint the location and relax. Another day or a week, you can expand this “body survey” down, taking inventory where you’re tense, working against yourself. But even one spot is a start. Let’s make that change beautiful. You’ve just done something for yourself, becoming more aware and whole.
If you don’t care for mirrors, find a comfortable chair and treat yourself to a minute or two of quiet. Again, we can use our breath as a tool to enter into ourselves. Close your eyes for the moment. Don’t try to fight your thoughts. This time look from the outside to your breastbone, go deeper to your heart. Tell yourself that you and your heart are wonderful, a miracle of thump following thump. For a moment, we are! I think this’s neat.
And now don’t trivialize it. You grabbed a moment for yourself, where you were important. Pretty neat. You now have added strength.
And as to be expected, since you’ve affirmed yourself, you can now go out and smile and do random acts of kindness which accomplishes both at the same time. Easy-peasy. Dispose of trash properly; walk, don’t ride where possible; recycle, etc., etc.
Next time you look in that mirror, it will be with pride.
Ken was a Professor of Mathematics, a ceramicist, a welder, and an IBMer until downsized in 2000. He taught yoga until COVID-19 decided otherwise. He continues writing, living with his wife and beagle in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He enjoys chamber music and mysteries. He’s a homebrewer and runs whitewater rivers. Ken is a writer and his literary works can be found at https://www.kmkbooks.com/
He welcomes feedback on his articles and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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