Transformation Part 2:  Stop, Stand and Start

Transformation Part 2:  Stop, Stand and Start

It was time to grieve the ending of my complacency, avoidance and magical thinking. High scores and bigger numbers are welcomed results for academic exams, bank accounts and maybe even “likes” on Instagram, yet not on a blood test for cholesterol and glucose. Numbers don’t lie, yet I had been doing quite a bit of falsifying the discomfort I felt in my own skin until the “H” for “high” on the computerized notification really represented, “Hellooooo, is anyone home???”

I had to stop being a negligent homeowner who doesn’t stay on top of necessary maintenance. Buckets of grief filled over about a four year period, absence from exercise, working more and playing less, and indulgent eating habits I’ll blame on the pandemic. All of these and more contributed to my home “body” being less than structurally sound.

We can sit in the driver seat of our intentions, yet don’t have the key to get started. Or, we fill up the tank of our motivation vehicle, yet run out of owning its purpose only to abandon the expedition on the side of our lives. Here are a few examples of those who STARTED at various ages and stages of their lives:

  • Audrey Hepburn stars as Eliza Doolittle in the film version of My Fair Lady – age 35
  • Mark Twain publishes The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – age 40
  • Gustave Eiffel completes designing the Paris tower that will be named for him – age 56
  • Betty Ford opens up her self-named clinic for substance abusers – age 64
  • Michelangelo designs the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome – age 72
  • Barbara McClintock wins the Nobel Prize for Physiology for her revolutionary work in genetics – age 81
  • Mother Jones, union organizer, writes her autobiography – age 94

To start a change is to gather the sticks of self-kindness, the kindling to ignite living differently. We can contemplate how our “home” gets neglected, how the “fire” was extinguished, yet action ultimately comes from stopping, standing, answering, listening, believing and waking up. I had to find the KIND in kindling to ignite personal change, stand up and respond to the deeply knowing self that was calling to be better, healthier. At whatever season of life you currently occupy, it is completely, most assuredly, in the present that we must start where we stand.

Where do you stand today? It is not easy to finally stop, stand in front of your denial and know something needs to change. What needs to stop so that you can stand and answer the call of what you must start? Is there a relationship needing renewal? Career efforts requiring inspiration? Physical laments calling for attention? Creative possibilities hungry for attention? Emotional challenges demanding healing?  Life transitions asking to be acknowledged and accepted?

Here were my kindling items:

Focused Energy – Plan, purchase and create healthy nutritional supplies

Investment – Make self-care a daily deposit of ingestion and activity

Return – Telling the truth to myself, revisiting core values of physical health

Encouragement – Self-soothing messages to make healthy choices

Since September 2022, my numbers are all less…pounds, cholesterol and glucose. The “H” for high has retreated from the scoreboard. By gathering KINDness for myself, I experienced fulfillment in the midst of deficit. Acceptance led to action. Action fueled transformation. Transformation generated energy, renewal and a reminder…all things are possible when we choose to be kind to our bodies, hearts and minds.


Transformation Part 1: Stop, Stand and Start 

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