Win some, lose some

Yesterday, I had a one hour wait in my car with my teenage daughter, between her school ending and allotted time slot for dancing. She had some school work to finish, and I was looking forward to spending some time reading my book. It was only about fifteen minutes after we had parked that I was able to pick it up, because of course there is the ”catch up on her day” while she eats first.

Before I opened it, I first scanned the street, double checking our safety (because that is how life is lived here), and a man a little further down the road caught my eye.
And I struggled to concentrate after that, reading only a few lines before needing to look up and watch him for a bit.
Not because he was menacing. And not because he was attractive either 😛

He had his phone in his hand, and was clearly following some form of workout on it. He would jog a short distance, then jog back to his spot, then do three sets of eight of some form of cardio exercise. Then he’d take a deep breath in and out, and repeat the whole cycle – each repetition of the cardio changing as he progressed.

What struck me was this :

He was a slightly overweight man, who appeared to me to be somewhere in his fifties.
And he was not very good at what he was doing.
But he was still doing it… and on a public street too!

(I have to add that I have a LOT of admiration for ‘overweight, untoned’ people who exercise in public. I always look at them and think, ”good for you! I should be doing that! Keep your head held high – respect!”)

My daughter saw me watching, and told me not to stare. I told her, ”I can’t help it. I should be doing that!” She replied, ”then go do it…. but not here, please! All the dancers and parents will see you, and that’s just embarrassing!” And I laughed out loud!
I tried very hard to prevent him from seeing me watching, but about halfway through his workout, I found myself staring at him as he jogged back up the road to his spot without really thinking anything, and we locked eyes. He gave me a small smile, and lifted his hand to say hi, before turning his attention back to his phone to do his cardio.

Knowing I was watching changed nothing – he didn’t suddenly improve on the exercise, or get an impressive second wind and jog a bit faster…. he continued on exactly the same as before. He knew I was watching, but he didn’t stop! Sometimes, even though we’re in public, we only really get uncomfortable when we catch someone watching us. If the roles had been reversed, I would have stopped.
And the thought that came to mind was, This guy has it right! What other people think of him is none of his business! He is doing this for himself, and is focused on the task at hand, probably knowing that the more he does it, the better he’ll get at it.

A couple of minutes before my daughter went into the studio, I watched him finish off a small stretching routine, chug down some water, and walk back into his house. I was surprised to find that, for a moment, I felt some joy and satisfaction on his behalf! I know… I’m a weirdo 😛

Unfortunately I was brought up with far too many limiting beliefs, and a lot of negativity about me personally, and I still find myself trying to unpack a lot even now.
And it’s hard. There are daily battles (some come hourly), and I win some, and I lose some. And I think it happens that way to most of us.
But I still believe that the most important thing is not in the losing, or the winning… but the trying. Yes, we need to celebrate the wins. But sometimes I think we lost sight of the fact that we should also be celebrating the ‘TRY’S’.

One of my try’s is to ‘stop listening to the voice in your head that has told you for years that you can’t because what will people think!’

Now… please don’t get me wrong…. I am not saying that we should just do or say what we please because we don’t care what anyone thinks – because that sometimes becomes an excuse for us to behave badly. You can’t, for example, intentionally insult someone and have the attitude, ”Yes, I went there and I don’t care what you think, because this is me.”
Our ‘not caring what other people think’ should never be used as an excuse for us to be rude, disrespectful or hurtful. It should not make us insensitive or cause harm to others, whether they deserve it or not.

But I DO think that sometimes we need to just dance like no one is watching… and if we catch someone watching? Well, we should just carry on dancing.

Yes, I know it’s hard. But we can try 😉

Here’s to trying, winning, and sometimes even losing. Because if we’re open to it, there’s usually a lesson in the losing 😉 Have a great day, everyone!

Big Wins

We all have those moments. The ones where there is a ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ moment, and everything just seems to crumble. Staying afloat is a struggle and sometimes we find ourselves gasping for air. More so in the current pandemic – the stress that it is bringing to our lives is something none of us have ever been prepared for.

I was speaking to someone the other day, and laughing (yes, actually laughing) about all the terrible things I have been through in my life, and having been made an entirely single mom with no financial or emotional support 12 years ago, and how I have learned and worked so hard at finding tools for survival and implementing coping strategies and mechanisms that are healthy – and that I felt that I was doing okay and could pretty much cope with anything. And then? Covid19.

It’s a whole new ball game.

No one has ever taught me about what to do in a worldwide pandemic, when you live in a third world country that was falling apart even before the crisis hit. No one has prepared me for it, or offered me applicable coping mechanisms. And I really thought I was doing okay in the beginning. But I think that as with many other aspects in life, my sub conscious needed a little bit of a ‘reprogram’.

And it was in trying to help someone else last week, that I actually helped myself. Which should come as no surprise to many of you. Because isn’t that just the ‘circle of life’ –

showing kindness begets kindness;
giving freely begets receiving;
helping others emotionally begets assistance for ourselves

And I found myself wondering….

What if I apply all I know to this unknown situation as well – whether I think it’s applicable or not? What if I continue to live as I always have, despite the circumstances? What if I do as much as I can, with what I have, and what I am allowed to do legally (I can’t pop in for a coffee with a friend who is struggling)? What if I just keep being me and celebrate each new day without worrying about the next one?

I have always been someone who has an ‘attitude of gratitude’. I try NOT to complain a lot, but sometimes we do just need to get things off our chests. But even after moments of grumbling, I am still mindful of gratitude for what I DO have.

What we sometimes forget is that our ‘small wins’ and the little things, are things of monstrous value to others. I think that taking things for granted is a human condition, and not always something we do intentionally. I slip up many times – it doesn’t make me an ungrateful and bad person. When I realise what I have done, it creates an awareness to be more grateful for that particular thing – which is good! (And I can’t help but wonder if that’s the point 😉 )

In my country there are far too many people who don’t have access to clean running water. I live in a built up residential area and so this is not a problem for me. And although my heart aches for those people, and I get angry at my government infrastructure that has failed them, I don’t think I ever fully understood their reality until we were without water for six whole days. It certainly changed things up for me and as silly as it sounds, I am now grateful every time I shower, am able to flush the toilet, wash dishes, do a load of washing in the washing machine etc. Previously, I would have seen these things as small wins – now I know how big they actually are! (And it has also led to us being more aware of the amount of water we use, developing good habits to not waste 😉 )

I can also tell you from personal experience, the small wins that are celebrated for what they truly are (big wins for others) attract something powerful.

In the same way, the small things that we do for others attract something powerful too. In EVERY aspect of our lives. The more we think about good things, and do good for others, the more we invite it to attach itself to us 😉 

Every day is different. Some days are ‘bad’, where everything seems to go wrong. But even on those days, I challenge you to find three good things too – because you WILL find them if you consciously look for them 😉

And don’t forget to give something away every day – even if all you have to give is a smile, or ten minutes of your time. Little things to you may signify big wins in someone else’s life