Jumping through the trees

This morning I made a big list of things to do. One particular thing has been on my to-do list for many months and this morning I finally started it. Was I especially motivated to start it? Quite possibly. But the truthful reason is that there is now something even scarier on the list. So in order to feel a sense of achievement, I went with the lesser of the scaries!

I remember my friend Maggie told me that if you have two toads to eat in the morning, eat the biggest one first. I like this theory, but am not ever intending to eat an actual toad, in case anyone is wondering. Do the hardest thing you have to do in your day first, then everything after that will seem easier, will seem like less work. But doing the hardest thing first, is well, hard.

I did a tree top challenge type thing a few years ago. It wasn’t a massively high one, maybe only ten meters or so off of the ground, but it was terrifying. I clung to every tree, muscled tensed and a cold sweat working its way down my body. I felt sick but was trying to be brave and smiley for my daughter who was experiencing no such trauma and happily trusting the safety line. I got round the course, the relief I felt when hitting the ground and covering my back and legs in mud was a beautiful thing. I was exhausted and aching, all my energy was spent.  My daughter massively enjoyed the experience, so a few weeks later, we had another go on the same course. This is the sort of parent I am. This time, however, everything felt different, this experience was fun! I knew what to expect, and my confidence soared. I was jumping from post to post with exhilarated joy. And when the course was done this time, I didn’t feel tired. I felt very much alive.

The exhaustion of worry is a massive thing. Some tasks can feel too big to take on. I sometimes think that I have longer to complete a task, then find a deadline looming. Putting things off is often more stressful than the actual thing itself. But am trying to change that, to be brave.

I will make the phone call tomorrow, first thing.

Map Point. What things could I do right now to make my life easier?

 

Tomorrow’s gratitude

‘Do something today that your tomorrow self will be grateful for’. I have read many inspirational quotes over time and this is one that has really resonated with me, so I considered how far I have actually applied this to my life.

There is the utter glory of a ‘to do’ list.  When everything is checked off, I feel proud, and then I can make a fresh list. It is a perpetual cycle of work. A’ to do’ list reminds me of all the things I might otherwise forget, thus wherever I am in the list, it feels that there will always be more list. But this does sort of keep me on track, mostly.

The flip side of the list of many, many things is it creates guilt. It sits quietly on my desk mocking me, passively judging the game of colour matching that I am playing on facebook because the mental weight of the list has reduced me to apathy. And when I tick off ‘washing up’ both myself and the list know it was a five-minute task. And there is a fifteen hundred word proposal to write (the list knows this too). However, in terms of the things actually on the list, there is utter equality in the pen that crosses through them.

The list is most definitely a mixed blessing, but being grateful for what I do today doesn’t just extend to a list of tasks. I am grateful for the interactions I have with both people and places. So many things inspire me to feel grateful, and when I experience this, I shine.

Practicing gratitude at a personal level has been transformative for me. Acknowledging all the amazing things that surround me (even when they have been few) has been vital in building my self-esteem. More recently I have started practicing gratitude for the things in my life that have been harder and these are helping me to learn. And this is allowing me in turn, to let past traumas go.

And my tomorrow self is always grateful.

Map Point. What am I most grateful for?