I like to run up hills, but not down them. Running hills is one of the activities regularly included in our park workouts. Running up a hill I feel confident. My legs are strong. My lungs are capable. Walking down or running down, particularly if the grass is a bit wet and slippery, the questioning part of my brain kicks in and takes over. Often I’ll start walking down a steep hill and my brain sends signals to my legs to go VERY slow. Or just stop. To hell with pride and go down crab walk style. Or avoid the hill, even though I enjoy running up. That’s a loss. Not running up the hill.
On occasion, I have avoided the hill all together, because I feel awkward about my downhill issue. But, more often than not, I start off tentative, but I try. This results in me walking down slowly at first and then when I find my footing, going quickly, where it’s less steep. Once I’ve managed to do this, I can run up the hill. And, the run up the hill feels that much sweeter. It may seem like a little thing, but it’s a small win.
Also, I always “leaned into my heels” when going down the hill and on a slight sideways angle, thinking this would be more stable, but last week, once I got more comfortable, I realized I felt more sturdy if I put my weight more “mid-front” than towards my heels. A little learning exercise for my brain, not just my body.
Small wins are great at any time, but especially these days.
What about other small wins I’ve experienced lately?
Some days I wake up and feel inexplicably sad. Or tense or reactive. More sensitive to things I shouldn’t be. Perhaps, that day, I seem to care more about whether people are hearing me or respecting me. Or if they like me. Even if I know I’m not supposed to care (I thought 40 was a magic “I don’t care” threshold?). Do we ever really not care? I haven’t reached that level of evolution yet. Regardless, I’m not sure why I wake up that way. Not sure it matters if it’s chemical or hormonal or just a normal product of existence. We can’t experience the highs if we don’t experience the lows.
I can also be my biggest critic about my moods. I know how to navigate them carefully. How to give myself movement. Or more room to react to others when necessary. But, I will often question myself about why I feel that way. What right do I have to feel that way? I am SO lucky. I am healthy. In love. Seen by my partner and respected. My work is not a toxic environment, which has not always been the case. I live in a great place (both MY place and the city in which I live) and so many other things for which I am grateful.
But it’s a small win when I can let myself just be and accept that it’s OK to have our own emotions to deal with. Even when the world seems to be in so much pain. Even when people are sick. Even when we miss people we haven’t seen in awhile, either because they are no longer here or because we are not able to see them.
I am not a religious person. But lately, I’ve been following a very progressive rabbi on Twitter, who I love, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg. I find her tweets very informative, educated, and sometimes, simply what I need to hear at the time. For example, this recent simple tweet (which doesn’t do her more informative tweets justice):
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg@TheRaDR: “Hey, we’re still in the middle of an ongoing mass trauma (or, well, several of them at the same time.) If you’re not OK… well, that makes sense. Be gentle with yourself, will you?”
A good, simple reminder for everyone.
I am very grateful for living in a time and space that allows me to feel my emotions safely and patiently. And that I’m able to keep them in perspective.
Another small win is the wisdom to know I shouldn’t care about the fucking frown in my forehead. I can’t help that there is part of me that doesn’t like it. That wonders if it makes me look tired or angry when I’m not. But I also know it’s not a fucking frown. It’s a sign that I’m alive. Ageing. But alive. And it doesn’t affect anything other than, occasionally, my ego. I think that’s a small win that I recognize that.
What small wins have you experienced lately? In fitness, mindfulness, or otherwise?