- Martha Engeman
Remembering the Journey to Walking
At times of change in our lives, when we are learning and exploring new things, it’s helpful to remember our journey from crawling to walking. Every able-bodied person has made that transition, and we forget that it wasn’t easy. We didn’t just one day stand up and walk. Instead we practiced reaching up and pulling ourselves to standing, and then flopping back down on to our bottoms. We did this many times before we tried one day to stand without holding onto anything. For a few seconds we were able to balance and the world was our oyster! But then we most likely fell down and started crawling around again. We had to practice this over and over until one day we dared enough to take a step and perhaps another. Along the way, many of us had people cheering us on and congratulating us for each piece of the journey. Finally, we would take many steps without falling, and in a few years, walking was second nature.
So why is it important to remember this journey? When we are making big changes, we will inevitably go through the process of moving forward a bit and then falling down and regrouping. Those falls are hard. We may beat ourselves up for not moving forward with alacrity and ease. What if we could learn to embrace those times as simply a part of the journey? What if we could love ourselves through the times when we feel successful and those when we feel like we are failing? And what if we had friends cheering us along the way?
Any true change in life takes grit, determination and the ability to fall down, dust off our knees and get back up. On my Weight Watchers app, there are people who write about failing their way to success. They note that the journey of weight loss, as any journey, is never a straight path. There are times when things click, and then others when they just don’t and we fall into old habits. The key is to keep trying, no matter what. That’s where having a positive support structure really helps. They can encourage us to just keep going.
Through this process of change, of learning new skills, of learning to walk in various areas of our lives, may we practice loving kindness and patience with ourselves. It is way too easy to berate ourselves for not meeting a certain self-imposed standard. What if instead, we could recognize that failure is an important part of the path to success? When we fail, and learn from our failures, we are able to calibrate our mission and our goals. It is said that Edison failed in his first 1000 attempts to make the light bulb. The important thing though is that he kept persisting and eventually was successful.
In the end, we will measure our lives not so much by what we accomplished, but about how we lived. How did we choose to experience this great adventure of life? Did we live more often with kindness and love then with anger and fear? Were we able to fail our way to success? Were we able to embrace the journey? And were we able to walk, fall down, and pick ourselves back up again and again? Calvin Coolidge said, “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” May we keep persisting and treat ourselves with genuine love and kindness in this great journey of life.