One of my favourite-est teachers in the world (Dawn, who taught me shorthand, an optional class I kept attending even though I didn't have to simply because working under her was so motivating) always said this phrase: "A little every day."
She told us the only way to get good at shorthand was to keep practicing, even if we didn't see immediate results, even if it got discouraging - a little every day. Her advice, which I cherish much, has proved to be effective.
My list of daily little things:
- French: I've been practicing my French - and I am finding that the less obsessed I am with getting things 'perfect', the more I actually absorb - even if it is not complètement (completely) perfect.
- Beachbody Insanity Workouts: This reminds me of the time I joined Bootcamp - it's grueling stuff! I cheat, though, and split my workouts into half - I do the first twenty minutes of a video one day, and the next twenty minutes the next day. But mind you, it is a pretty freaking intense twenty minutes! But the satisfaction of "powering through", in the words of Shaun T, is pretty darn satisfying.
- Savoring my food: Food and drink keeps me sane. A good meal, a satisfying cup of coffee / tea - these are the highlights of my day when I feel I'm losing a grip on sanity.
- Writing: I want to write a book - but starting is always the hardest part. Right now, I'm just trying to get myself to write something - anything - because starting will get me on my way to that book.
But I've realized that the most important thing to practice a little of every day is cultivating gratitude for and finding pleasure in today. At this point in my life, the future is a big question mark, and sometimes that question mark is so big it overwhelms and scares me. Sometimes I look at my country and my life and the people around me and I wonder where this is all going, where I will end up... if I even have a future to look forward to.
Sometimes memories from my past come back to me and they seem so friggin perfect that I wonder if my life could ever be that beautiful again... and that thought scares me too - the thought that it can't get any better than it already has.
I cannot do anything about these fears, and I cannot control the future. The only thing I can do is not allow these fears to steal the only thing I do have control over - today.
Today I take much heart in this quote:
"There are times when it is hard to believe in the future, when we are temporarily just not brave enough. When this happens, concentrate on the present. Cultivate le petit bonheur (the little happiness) until courage returns. Look forward to the beauty of the next moment, the next hour, the promise of a good meal, sleep, a book, a movie, the likelihood that tonight the stars will shine and tomorrow the sun will shine. Sink roots into the present until the strength grows to think about tomorrow." ~Ardis Whitman