TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I contemplated the idea of persistence. As a foil for the idea of “reset”
— not so much never quitting, but that we keep going more or less on the same path, making small changes along the way.
Friday we closed the book on 2020 and opened up to that blank page which begins 2021. I have to admit that I have pages of writing for ideas and plans for 2021 and a wonderful feeling of starting something new.
But I am the same person. I still swear too much. I am still too intense. I *still* don’t care enough about cleaning.
No reset button has been pushed.
On Friday, my husband, Mike, and I went on our weekly walk into the woods. I think it is safe to say that we have a deep affection for the woods, for outside.
We would be going chaga mushroom hunting, so we chose a path with lots of birch.
It’s important to note that, first, when we find something, we only take a very small amount for ourselves for that day, and also, we rarely find anything. We mostly just like to stomp around in the woods. Foraging is fun, but also serious. I found this blog post that says everything I know to be true about rules to follow when foraging.
In any case, we didn’t find any chaga.
But along the way, I began to notice pine trees. Pine trees have been on my mind recently, as it is the new year, and, as many of you might, I have one in my house at the moment. We passed a pine tree with a large patch of resin right at eye level. I took a small bit rubbed it between my fingers, put it in my mouth and asked Mike to use his precious data to find out if you really can chew on pine resin. (I know that pine is edible. Don’t put stuff in your mouth that you don’t know about.)
Turns out that you can, and that it tastes great (imho). It’s apparently good for joints, too. I chewed my piece of pine resin gum for a couple hours. When we sat down for tea, I put my gum aside and we drank pine needle tea. When I put my gum back in my mouth after, it shattered in little pieces in my mouth but then came back together as gum again. A tiny miracle.
*I am including occasional links to bookshop.org — if you purchase something after clicking the link, I may get a small bit ‘o cash…and you help indie bookstores. Yea.
Let’s continue this idea that we are still walking along the same path into this next year. We can change our perspective, our pace, our companions, but we’re still walking along the same path we were walking yesterday.
If life is a path, what does yours look like? What do you look like in relation to that path? What are a couple small habits you might like to establish along the way? What are a couple habits that may no longer serve you?
When we continually make small changes we have a way better chance of healthy outcomes.
Occasionally, lightening strikes and huge, catastrophic changes happen. But most of life is made up of a series of small changes with lasting effect. I’d argue (and there’s lots of evidence to back this up) that life provides enough catastrophic stuff. We don’t need to add any.
So maybe this week, notice small, incremental changes to your habits. Add another glass of water. Take a few extra steps. Pick up your pace a bit. Clean out one drawer. Learn one new thing.
Choose a couple small things to notice and move just a bit. Perhaps notice that if you add a tiny change each week, over an entire year, you’ve got quite a new habit.
I just realized, for example, that if you added one sip of extra water per week, you’d end up adding 10 cups of water by the end of the year! Too much :)
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
The idea of persistence, of creating habits, appeals to me also because it avoids perfection.
Reset feels like perfection is a possibility. If we can just start over, this time maybe life will be perfect.
Nope. Not going to happen. Same path, different day. Same perfectly imperfect family. Same perfectly imperfect you. Same good enough life.
Strive for good enough. Try, this year, to become imperfect.
9. Hero: Nelson Mandala — Revolutionary, Philanthropist, President
Why? “It always seems impossible until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this. Please share with someone you think may enjoy this weekly.
Wild and Precious Podcast, the audio partner to 10 Things, is available everywhere you download podcasts.