Ten Thousand Days

I Did a Hard Thing

May 24, 2023

Photo: Luca J

Day 3098 – Day 3202

I did a hard thing.  To do it, I had to be diligent and determined.  Time and again I was humbled.  Who I used to be is not who I am now. 

But isn’t that true, of all of us, if we are actively engaged in this thing called life?  Some of our attributes decline with time – physical beauty being the easiest one to bring to mind.  And, some of our qualities develop with maturity.  I wouldn’t say they are a trade-off for one another but to one who witnesses life, there is a certain dance that we experience. 

I could tell you all about the hard thing I did.  I could feel ego gratification over my achievement or grief over my loss, depending on how the hard thing turned out.  But what I really take away from the experience is the humility and faith that became entangled in the process. 

Humility came in learning that I had limits.  When I was younger, I had not experienced my limits.  And, while this was maybe not the upper limit of my potential, I certainly met limits of time, energy and capability along the way.  I had to pace myself and accept that some days were better than others and rather than push myself through any wall I hit, I learned the gentleness of having grace with myself and letting myself rest. When I rested, the next day was usually better and more productive.  Working with my own inner rhythms worked far better than pushing my body and mind to go beyond where it was willing to go.  As an over achiever all my life, learning compassion, coupled with discipline and determination was a potent potion and a much more comfortable way of being with my aspirations.  I’m grateful for the gift of limitation because it led me to the choice of self-compassion over Self-annihilation.

How can we achieve anything if we let ourselves off the hook?  That, for me, is where faith comes in.  It was simple.  I prayed daily for the strength to achieve what I wanted, and if that was not to be, for the gift of insight when the time required it.  And, if that was not to be, for the persistence to try again.  And, I prayed that after I had exceeded the number of attempts I was permitted, if I was still unsuccessful, for the ability to surrender the outcome and accept that this was not meant for me.  In attempting to do something that I was 60 percent sure I could not do, I am grateful for my faith and the choice of surrender.

To me, the process got me unstuck in a number of ways.  Firstly, it was a step towards a future that I would like to create for myself and it was an act of empowerment to start to work towards building that future.  The compassion that tempered my ego got me through my inertia that I had developed as a result of letting my limitations dictate what I felt I could undertake.  My faith, my determination my discipline and my ability to surrender the outcome gave me the space to learn a new way of being guided by life, rather than guiding life to where my ego wanted to go.  

When I first started this journey of gratitude and joy, it was suggested to me by a very learned person to keep religion and faith out of it because it would have a wider appeal to an audience that is increasingly non-secular.  I wonder now, if following that advice is the best for me and for my potential audience.  My faith is probably the single most defining attribute of this blob of flesh and blood and consciousness that I call me.  What I believe in is not the most important thing.  It is the act of faith – over and over again – in the face of things that could make one lose faith – that is really what matters.

I write about my personal journey and I hope that it inspires others to improve their own lives by taking a different viewpoint on the circumstances of life.  Faith is an important part of that process for me and I’m eternally grateful to have been gifted that faith and that it has only strengthened in adversity.  That, much like gratefulness, is a choice. And often that choice amounts to doing the hardest thing.


For what are you most grateful today?


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