Transformation Part 1: Stop, Stand and Start
Last September, I knew an aspect of my life needed to come to an end. Looking back, it was more about stopping certain behaviors and habits more than starting something new. I had reached the finish line of being uncomfortable in my own skin.
In 5th grade, I towered over classmates and had an inspirational teacher who always encouraged me to “walk proud, shoulders back” as I would slouch to be compatible with my shorter pals. Fortunately, due to genes, I always fit in my counterpart “jeans” pretty well, until I didn’t. Throughout my 40’s, I held steady, fluctuating a bit here and there, with affirmations from friends who would say, “You are so tall, if you lose or gain weight, I really can’t tell, you always look the same.”
Traveling quite a few decades from my 11 year old 5’4 self to last September and well, I most certainly did not look the same. Grief over my mum’s passing, my son launching off to college, hormonal aging, potato chips, Covid, more ice cream and less movement had weighed heavy on me…literally.
A stanza from an early 1900’s poem by Berton Braley entitled Start Where You Stand came to mind in considering this idea of personal transformation:
“Start where you stand and never mind the past,
the past won’t help you on beginning new,
if you have left it all behind at last.
Why, that’s enough, you’re done with it, you’re through.”
The first word of this title really says it all. Start. Wherever you stand, is where you must start. Not in the past, where old footprints and memories remain. We cannot change our life experiences, our story up until today. It has been written, inked, the legacy has traveled through time. No, we cannot go back and start from a former reality. Where we are is where we start.
Nor can we start in the future, for the “what if’s” are merely a vague sketching of what could be. If we only aim toward tomorrow, we risk missing vital aspects of where we stand and what we feel in the moment.
My body had been polite, slightly nudging me out of one size of jeans to the next. Then my eyes would spot a photo and I’d delete. My body started to ache, hurting at my rejection of paying attention. When I received blood test results, I had to stop, stand, be very still and start to listen.
It was time to grieve the ending of my complacency, avoidance and magical thinking. It was time to start caring for myself differently.
End Part 1 – Stay tuned for Part 2