TIME LIKE A RIVER

Two weeks ago, a switch got flipped in me.

I realized I’d become a couch potato again. (Another injury side-lined me in martial arts.) I went on a healthier eating plan and ramped up my exercise regime (which had dwindled away to “not much” the last few months.)

I knew this before then. But I decided to really do something about it.

I’ve been wondering why it took so long to simply start eating better. We all the know the benefits of working out and eating more veggies. Why do we put it off?

Because it just seems like a huge commitment. We’ve all known people who are relationship/commitment phobic. Well, I am diet-and-exercise/commitment phobic.

For me, the diet road is a long, dusty, boring highway. It seems to stretch on forever, with no fun food in sight. Saying no to a burger when you eat out. Choosing fruit instead of peanut butter fudge for a snack. Foregoing General Tsao’s chicken for hot-and-sour soup and some steamed rice.

Choosing that road seems like a very big deal. Not a very enjoyable one at that. One that will last a long, long time. (No more Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Chunk Fudge ice cream? Forever??)

And regular exercise is the same. Choosing years and years of swimming, walking, Pilates, lunges, weights. All that time to switch into workout clothes (instead of getting dressed once for the day and staying there.) All that time to walk somewhere (instead of just jumping in the car and driving in five minutes. And ending up running one errand instead of six.) Washing and drying my hair after a workout or a swim (which takes forever once your hair gets beyond a certain length.) Getting sick after snowshoeing because it’s so damn cold in January, in New Hampshire, for any exertion that makes you breathe deep and hard.

Did I mention I’m allergic to chlorine, too?

Making a commitment to actually start that journey just seems like too much. It’s much, much easier to say, “I’ll start tomorrow.” Or next week. Or after New Year’s.

Which never really happens.

I keep seeing that bumper sticker, “One Day at a Time”. Well, I get that, but it still didn’t help much. Seems like one very long hungry/achey/sweaty/coughing/itchy day after day after day….

Til I had a revelation this week.

Time is like a river.

Not an original idea, I realize. But the usual metaphor is we cross time like a river. And it’s never the same river twice, since “different” water is flowing each time we cross.

Nice image, but not helpful for starting that new practice.

But what if we are standing in the river?

Facing upstream.

And time itself is moving all around us. Constantly flowing toward us, and around us, and past us, as we stand.

There is only the power, the energy, the beauty, the potential, the miracle of a brand new day coming to us.

We don’t move through it. We inhabit it. It flows to us.

And all we have to do is deal with the water that engulfs us this day.

Then there is no long highway to walk. No exhausting effort to make day after day. Only choices. Plucking a different option out of a stream of possibilities.

I don’t know if this is making sense or not. I know it baffled my husband when I tried to tell him about it. “Sounds like that movie Ground Hog’s Day“, he said.

To quote a Wikipedia entry, “The main character (played by Bill Murray) is forced to relive the day over and over again until he can learn to give up his selfishness and become a better person. In popular culture, the phrase “Groundhog Day” has come to represent going through a phenomenon over and over until one spiritually transcends it.”

“No, it’s not like that!” I protested. “It’s not punitive. It’s not repetitive. It’s…opportunity. A new beginning, every single day. Tomorrow doesn’t exist. Yesterday is gone.”

It’s like we don’t have to go to it. It comes to us. Very hard to explain….

But suddenly, the choices I make today seem a little easier.

ps. This Wiki entry has a list of the ground hog’s prediction results for the ten years. And a good explanation for why spring always comes six weeks after Ground Hog’s Day, whether it’s sunny or not. (I’m feeling very smart because my husband didn’t know this.)

pps. Is this too Zen today? If so, just go eat a salad and worry about it tomorrow.

ppps. I just swam for an hour.

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8 Comments

Filed under action steps, change, choices, inspiration, life, mental attitude, perseverence

8 responses to “TIME LIKE A RIVER

  1. Lovely imagery, wise post. Thanks.

  2. Peanut butter fudge? Yum!

  3. Thank you, Melody!
    Elaine–cut it out!!! :^D

  4. Karen Minturn Brown

    I’m kind of the same place with exercise; I’m going to think on this entry and see if it doesn’t help… In particular, I resent the “get ready, get done” time and feel like it’s wasted.

  5. Luann, I love this image of not having to go out and get your future, because it’s coming to you…

    I also really dread “exercise.”

    But hockey? That’s just plain old fun! And the more I do it, the more fun it is! I’m up to about 8 hours/week, now, and wish I could squeeze in a little more…

    I don’t resent putting on all that gear (which takes about 20 minutes, down from 30), because it’s what I need to do to PLAY safely.

    Maybe it’s just a matter of finding something so fun, that it feels like a bummer when you don’t get to do it?

    And I never bother drying my hair afterward… I just wear a nice warm hat! ;)

  6. Oh, Carrie, how you feel about hockey is how I felt about kickboxing. I went six days a week. It was the hardest hour of my life, but it was worth it!

    I just have to find something I love just as much I can do every day…..

    I discovered if I sit in the sauna after swimming, it halfway dries my hair! :^)

  7. Oh, right, Luann, sorry!

    I can’t imagine what it’s like to have your favorite sport be off-limits.

    And I can see where the peanut butter fudge might factor in!

    Kudos to you for getting in the pool, anyway… at least there is that sauna to look forward to afterwards…

  8. Wonderful imagery. I’m going to try that! (I really need to get on track)… rather, “go stand in the river”!

    Sheila

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