Just Past the Self-Imposed Starting Line

“See It Through” by Edgar Guest

When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

Today getting in shape and losing weight began in earnest with an evaluation session with my fitness trainer. I am just past the self-imposed starting line one day before my 59th year kicks in. I am excited and a little fearful.

Excitement comes from the thought of being in better shape, losing my belly and being able to enjoy wearing clothes again. A touch of fear comes from borrowing trouble by worrying about the discomfort that’s ahead for a few weeks as I wake up old pains, past injuries and out of shape muscles. I will be OK! The hardest part is over: the beginning.

Like pushing a car is hardest the first six inches, beginning a fitness program is most difficult during the early days. I am grateful to be past the starting line. It took me years to get here.

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Report: My Day as a Lab Rat

In his book “A New Earth” Eckhart Tolle wrote acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. Following through on my experiment stated here yesterday was quite enlightening and proved Tolle’s point.

As best I could kept score throughout the day of how frequently I sensed or expressed grateful vs. how often I grumbled or found fault. All the +1’s for the former and -1’s for the latter summed up to +17 by bedtime.

Thinking of being mostly a grateful and positive person I was caught somewhat unaware that small moments of dissatisfaction and frustration are still very present in my life. Episodes are generally about much smaller things than before, but still pop up. Getting a spot of lunch on my shirt, losing a report on my computer, getting cut off in traffic and cable service going off for several hours last evening are all examples of moments I grumbled or criticized

On the positive side, boy have I come a long way! My thankfulness has been heightened in the last year by writing this blog every day about something I am grateful for. My engrained habit now is to better notice both the large and small things I have to be thankful for. Examples noticed yesterday were the well-worn shoes I love and wore yesterday, a good quarterly report at work, lunch that was spicy and yummy, laughing with people I work with, my son calling, a much-needed thunderstorm last night, an esoteric but really good movie I watched last night and so on.

Paying attention to both positive and not so positive stuff made my day incredibly good. My discovery from the pointed attention was how much I have to be thankful for and how small what I have to grumble about is. In my experiment I kept track of incidents of thought, but not the weight of them. Looking back and thinking in terms of the significance, my final score would be at least +1000. My fault-finding and grumbling was all over small momentary things while the grateful moments were much more meaningful and juiced me up with good feelings that dissipated slowly.

Awareness is an amazing experience. When I am really, really paying attention whatever I am focused on seems to unfold itself to me. My day was filled with that happening over and over yesterday. The more aware I was, the more I loved life. The “bad” moments did not get me down for long or to any great degree. Watching for the “good” seemed to bring more of them.

My final comment on my experiment is “Wow”! One day of heightened awareness seems to have brought another one today. How wonderful life is when I am paying attention! I am highly grateful for the reminder of what my little experiment brought me.

Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.
Eckhart Tolle