After a long and frustrating day at work, she searched the cupboard for some relief. A bag of something, a box. Finding nothing that would satisfy, she closed the cupboard and stepped back. She took a breath and remembered something.
She walked over to the television and clicked it off, cleared a stack of papers from the dinner table, set a beautiful place for herself, then warmed the leftovers from last night. As they warmed, she walked out onto her dark porch to gather a sprig of something green and living to place in a small vase near her plate. She sat alone with her dinner and ate it slowly, giving herself the beauty of each bite.
Making a change is an act of courage.
When we say yes to change, we say yes, I am willing to get a little uncomfortable. Yes, and I’m not sure how this will go for me. Yes, I think this change will be beneficial enough to be worth it.
We also say yes to confronting old patterns of thinking and living, perhaps interrupting them or asking them to become flexible.
As we learn evermore about our brains and bodies, many of us are beginning to make lifestyle changes in ways that are different than how we’ve done things in the past.
We’re trying to take things slower, because we know it’s better for us. We’re trying to build new habits, because we know it might make things easier in the long run. We’re trying to be kinder to ourselves, in our minds and hearts, when we struggle with change.
We find courage to change because, at our core, we care about ourselves, and we care about what our lives can be.
I am often touched by the unspoken, everyday courage of making changes in these new ways. Below are some small stories of courageous acts. May you honor the courage in these stories, and may you honor your own courage in the stories you live day by day.
Stress at the Dinner Table. At the family meal, loud voices and activity underway all around, his jaw was clenched with stress. He noticed. He took a moment to pause, to breathe, and then to notice his connection to the food on his plate with gratitude. When his daughter saw him sitting quietly, he invited her to be grateful with him. He thanked his wife for the meal and began to eat slowly.
One Donut. Finishing off the donut, she stopped for a moment to lick her fingers. She checked in with herself and noticed many things, most strongly both feeling good and wanting more. She asked herself if this could be enough, and she discovered that it was. She asked if she could enjoy this moment, and she found that she could.
Kind Company. In the rush of energy to start a new diet regimen, desperate to feel differently, he asked himself honestly “can I make sure to be kind to myself no matter how this goes?” He wondered what it would be like. He saw that he could ask for support.
Speaking Up. When she heard her own voice telling her fitness instructor she needed a break, she was surprised. She hated to disappoint people, but she has been practicing speaking up for herself, and she remembered that her instructor also wants her to be safe and well.
Passing through Discomfort. Tonight she is trying to fall asleep without the television. It’s very uncomfortable. She remembers the reasons he is trying to sleep more – brain fogs, frequent illnesses, headaches. She stays with it, trying a relaxation meditation, trying to rest her body, trying to stop thinking. She notices how hard she is trying and feels kindness towards herself. She stays with it. She eventually falls asleep.
Just a few examples of the everyday, loving courage of people making changes.
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