One Stone at a Time
"We would be wise to be wary of any methodology, whether it be a diet plan or a tidy-up-your-life-plan, that promises immediate results and all conclusive happily-ever-after guarantees." -Donna Farhi
I recently read a passage in a book that gave me pause for thought. The author talked about the amazing stone walls of the English countryside, fashioned from rocks of every shape and size. Many of the stones had been removed from pastures to improve grazing land and skillfully placed without mortar to ensure their stability. Naturally, it would have been easier in the short term to simply throw them in a pile, but instead, these structures have stood solid and ensured livestock stays enclosed (as far back as the Iron age).
This was likened to a truthful understanding of ourselves and our goals which are a day to day effort that builds over time. Fahri mentions that like us, thousands of years ago we had ancestors who likely had trouble getting out of bed, probably ate or drank too much and tried again to do or be better; people who lacked faith or willpower, who forgot what they'd learned and had to review. Rather than a sign of failure, this is a sign of the authenticity of our endeavour. The practice is the reward.
"Time and effort act as the invisible mortar for our experience; it stands between potentially discordant elements and through finding their correct relationship, brings all into a unified whole."
I love the English countryside so this struck a particular chord with me. Maybe some days are a ten-stone-day and others are one or two. But regardless, it helped remind me that every day is a gift, whether it is the most productive or not. Whatever you happen to be working on, try to avoid all-or-nothing, success or failure labels knowing that tomorrow may be a bit better. As long as you are trying, you are still moving forward. Think about how far you've come and all the stones that are fortifying your wall. This gratitude can fuel your life and personal goals and remind you that you are not back at zero. There's quite a bit of wall behind you already that has made you who you are. One stone at a time.