Have you ever had moments when your “to-do” list has spilled onto the second or third page and nothing, or maybe very little, has been crossed off? Have you wondered how you are going to reduce that washing pile, tidy the house, answer all your emails, finish the projects you are working on, and in some cases, actually start one?
I am sure we all can relate to the anxiousness and overwhelm we feel when we are faced with so much to do and seemingly no time, or energy, to do it. So what do you do when feeling overwhelmed and under-prepared for what life has presented you with?
Do you head for the fridge looking for the sweetest thing you can find to eat? Or maybe head for bed and dive under the bed clothes and trust that the work angel will do everything for you while you rest in comfort? Do you turn on the TV and disappear into your favourite programme, or do you go for a run, pounding the pavement until your body screams – “STOP!”?
We seem to have so many ways of numbing ourselves when life seemingly gets too hard, and instead of stopping, re-connecting to ourselves and asking what is one simple thing I can do right now, we simply choose to close our eyes, figuratively and literally, and hope whatever we believe we can’t deal with will just go away.
For many years I have had a picture on my fridge of a little child on the beach, wearing nothing but a hat. It shows the child looking at the sea ahead but in the way is a load of driftwood creating a definite challenge to getting to where he/she wants to go. The quote at the top of the picture says: “One step at a time – anything else is just too tricky!”
I have looked at this often over the years and sometimes it has helped bring me back from that place of anxiousness and overwhelm, but other times I have simply ignored it. But I have never felt to take it off the fridge and it has outlasted many other pictures and magnets.
However, as last summer arrived, the very simple message that image has been giving me for many years became more than just a message, but something that, by my actions, has now become a living truth. I was diagnosed with a respiratory infection just before the end of my working year.
I knew that I was tired after a very full on year and I knew that I needed to stop, but was ‘hoping’ I would make it until my holiday began: but no, my body decided that enough was enough and stopped me in my tracks, and proceeded to order me into bed. There I stayed watching summer unfold through the window and listening to everyone else having fun in the pool.
A couple of weeks later, after having made the choice to listen more intently to my body, I slowly began to feel better and knew that I needed to get up and get moving. Some exercise was being called for and gentle walking felt like what my body needed, but where I live doesn’t make that easy.
The challenge is that we live in the country on a busy road with no footpaths, and walking along the road is decidedly dangerous. But the call to walk in the sunshine was strong so on went the gumboots and into the paddocks I went – firstly just for a few minutes simply communing with my resident lawnmowers, my sheep and my alpacas, and sitting in the sun.
I made a commitment to do this each day and, after a few days, I felt an impulse to add an extra ingredient to my exercise.
A few months previously we had had a large tree chopped down and most of the wood had been collected and moved to the wood shed, but there was a pile that for some reason had been left. So on this particular day I picked up a piece of the wood, making sure that it wasn’t too heavy, and very slowly – and I do mean slowly – walked with it over to the fence and dropped it into the next paddock.
The plan was to eventually move it to a place where my grandchildren could later transport it to the wood shed. So each day, sometimes twice a day, I would walk for 5-10 minutes around the paddock, pick up a piece of wood and repeat the action, always being aware of its weight, how I was carrying it and how I was walking.
My body was asking for total conscious presence and that is what it got. As the days passed I began to feel my level of fitness increase, the pile on one side of the fence was decreasing and the one on the other was growing, until one day there was no more wood to move.
I remember going back into the house this day and looking out my window at the pile of wood I had moved and being utterly surprised at how big it was. I realised that I had actually moved it all, with no stress, no strain and that it had actually been enjoyable and, best of all, I was now feeling much more alive.
I walked from the window to the kitchen and stopped to look at the picture on my fridge and smiled at the lesson that I had just learned. “One step at a time – anything else is just too tricky!” And at that moment my own words came to me: “With commitment and consistency, and with one loving step at a time, we can move mountains” – and in my case, a wood pile!
I have so much appreciation for Serge Benhayon and the other marvellous students of Universal Medicine who inspire me daily to take more care of my body and to love me like never before, and as a result I have seen and experienced the magic that can unfold when one commits to life and brings consistency to that commitment. Now it’s on to the next ‘wood pile’, one step at a time!
By Ingrid Ward, West Auckland, New Zealand
What’s All The Fuss About Self-Care?
I Found Observing My Body Is A Great Support
Mowing The Lawn – With Tenderness
972 thoughts on ““One Step At a Time – Anything Else is Just Too Tricky!””
Ingrid I loved what has been presented here, the ‘to do’ list and the ‘overwhelm’ is something that has been playing out in my life recently. And it is a matter of ‘one step at time – anything else is just too tricky,’ otherwise it brings in the overwhelm and eventually exhaustion.
The more I get rid of the to do lists, and just respond to what is needed in that moment, the more it feels joyous and it flows. I’m in the early stages of this and I know with commitment and consistency, I will be able to move mountains.
Thank you Ingrid, this blog came at the perfect time for me…
Keeping it simple, and choosing one thing to do now makes so much sense, ‘We seem to have so many ways of numbing ourselves when life seemingly gets too hard, and instead of stopping, re-connecting to ourselves and asking what is one simple thing I can do right now’.
I like the simplicity of things, once complication comes in so does everything else, then there’s disarray and mayhem. One step at a time as well as staying connected to oneself is paramount, the body will communicate, it’s a matter of whether we listen and take heed or ignore and miss the opportunity to learn.
It’s fascinating what our bodies can communicate to us if we stop to listen. So many of us and I include myself have listened to our minds rather than our body because we have been led to believe our mind is the receptacle for our intelligence. I now know the opposite is true our bodies have access to a far greater intelligence than our minds will ever know. We have been sold a lie.
Absolutely Mary, our bodies are very wise, ‘ our bodies have access to a far greater intelligence than our minds will ever know.’
With simple purpose and consistency a job can get done effortlessly and feel complete, but with push and drive there is an expectation and exhaustion of the body leaving it wanting more and then seeking another activity in order to feel complete.
It is so true that when we allow space for a job to be done, so much can happen in that time to complete itself and all that with seemingly no effort and stress. It is only when we place conditions and expectations on ourselves or others that we can feel the pressure and can easily begin to stress. This is a beautiful example of moving a pile of wood and at the same time symbolic of each step in your healing.
Ingrid I absolutely love the simplicity and honesty that you write with – what you have shared in this blog is something that we can all relate to in one way or another! So gorgeously described I felt like I was with you each step of the way.
What a practical way to live Ingrid, and feeling the blessing that your fire-place would also get when the timber gets ignited by your glowing presence could be another blog.
If we don’t consider the work we have to do as a big pile but simply do it one log at a time we will find there comes a moment we look out of our window and appreciate how much work we have actually done without making a drama out of it.
Yes I have had many days of to-do lists of more than 1 page and wondering how on earth I was going to get it all done, never once considering if someone else could do it for me or if it indeed needed to be done in the first place!
When we focus on the expected end result of a task we can feel overwhelmed but when we take one step at a time we have the opportunity to take pleasure in how we move in what we are doing.
Much more fun, to take pleasure in how we move in what we are doing, enjoying being with ourselves and what we are doing.
One of my favourite blogs, it’s a simple but powerful message from your story and it’s stayed with me. At the moment I am redoing my closet, taking everything out, washing the items, cleaning and disinfecting the shelves, then reorganising the washed and dried items and placing them back in with care and attention to order. As I am not well and my energy levels are low, I am just doing a section when I feel to and enjoying it very much. The push to achieve the end result is gone and in its place the joy of caring for me by doing it, caring for my body by honouring when and how much to do, and feeling the beauty of the quality it’s done in, which is something I feel a purpose to do for the all. It may be a closet on the surface yet it’s a space that is contained within the ocean of energy we live in, a space I can offer back with the imprint of love, care and order. Once upon a time I would not have taken this on as I’d only see the whole thing and it would feel too much.
There is such a joy that gets re-ignited when we care more deeply for ourselves because we can, and when we feel the deep impulse to do so. The bonus is that the body heals faster with joyful care as an ingredient.
This is a beautiful sharing Melinda, knowing that the quality you bring to say your closet has a bigger impact on our world, as everything is connected by energy, ‘caring for my body by honouring when and how much to do, and feeling the beauty of the quality it’s done in, which is something I feel a purpose to do for the all.’
A steady focus and commitment to the moment to moment choices we make..the simplicity in this is awesome – no quick fixes, magic tricks or formula needed, just a loving and dedicated focus to whatever is in front of us, in that moment.
My whole life used to be one big ‘to do’ list, this created alot of anxiety and stress in my body as I kept adding to the list and it became an endless task. I write lists now but with a different flavour, they are more loving reminders of what needs to be completed, knowing the rest will take place… as you say Ingrid… one step at a time.
I can so relate to what you have shared – “My whole life used to be one big ‘to do’ list” – as now I look back I can see so clearly that mine was too. I was just piling stress on top of more stress, no wonder life seemed to be an endless struggle. Thank goodness I have denounced those stress piles and nowadays focus on gently moving ‘wood piles’ instead.
Anna I too can relate to the ‘to-do’ lists, the satisfaction of crossing something off, the pressures I placed upon myself to get something done and the empty feeling of incompletion even though I can finished something and could cross it off. Today I still have a to do list, but I work it completely differently and I have learned to tune into what is needed and when, and I only refer to the to do list as a mere reminder and inspiration.
I totally relate to your wood pile story that happens to me all the time and suddenly I have read a whole book, learnt to swim, can now do certain exercises I couldn’t before and so on and so forth!
One step at a time is always the way to go.
Imagine lifting both feet at once to step – you would most likely fall over and not get very far – at best a short hop.
Such a brilliant example of what one step at a time looks like and how we can literally move mountains with it, without stress or strain, so why would we do it any other way … a reminder that this way of being and living is always available to us, we just need to be consistent in our commitment to it.
Loved this Ingrid. We often want to move mountains, but don’t consider our bodies what we can do in a period of time. Drive ourselves with our head. This is the trick, one step at the time, but keep on going, and listen to your body.
One step at the time, and then feel what is next. That takes surrendering. Making lists is a way of control, closes space and makes it impossible for the Universe to work through us.
‘“With commitment and consistency, and with one loving step at a time, we can move mountains”
This I noticed also very strongly last few days. Starting to order my administration to a more refined level and doing this step by step made it simple and a loving thing to do.
Reading your blog again today Ingrid I started to understand that there is something very big going on inside me and the same approach is needed, one loving step at a time without the need to push or have expectations, and that I can take my time and give myself all the space I need to feel my way.
Feeling overwhelmed is just a situation we create for ourselves to justify not moving. By not moving we create a situation that confirms us not moving and provides an extra alibi for not moving. Yet, to arrive to that situation you have to work hard.
I often recall your words here Ingrid and work in the rhythm of them. The rhythm of one step at a time and one breath at a time has always been something I deeply enjoy and cherish.
It was so lovely to read your words Esther. They are definitely words that are instantly with me when I feel myself allowing complication into my life. And I still have a picture of the little girl on the beach on my fridge to remind me to take “One Step at a Time” if by some chance I forget.
Yes, it is a quality that lives innately within us and as little babies we live them so well, we are not ahead of us nor do we linger in the past, we just are in the moment of our whole being. So beautiful and so very natural.
Yes, Imagine trying to take two breaths at the same time!!!
We can truly only do what is before us which the body so lovingly reminds us. Whenever I have tried to cover too much or am ahead of myself it creates a stress and unease in my body and the quality goes out the window.
“We can truly only do what is before us which the body so lovingly reminds us.” Yes, simple, that’s it. So no need for doing it any other way.
A great approach to life, I love this story Ingrid. Often when we are not so focused on the outcome but simply follow the impulse it is amazing what is possible.. and it is enjoyable too.
This blog applies to both the overwhelm of having too much to do, but we can also find overwhelm in having too little to do and being ‘aimless’. One. Step. At. A. Time.
ha. ha. well. said. 🙂
Overwhelm is about how much I think I have got to do, and how quickly I want to see them done, and this is actually about how long/much I think I have to sacrifice ‘my time’, already weighing it against some kind of reward in the end.
I love this reminder as it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the ‘to do’s’ in life but I always come back to keeping it really simple and also not putting things off – just one step at a time regardless of the perceived difficulty.
We do seem to make mountains out of molehills and go into overwhelm – what this blog shows us is that with conscious presence the body responds and heals itself, and what we thought was too much for us suddenly becomes easy.
I agree that some of us are rather adept at building those mountains, mountains that never needed to be built in the first place. And of course the sight of this growing mountain can easily put us into overwhelm. I have found that taking one step back and allowing myself a wider and more honest view of what is really going on, the mountain begins to shrink back to the original “molehill, which of course is way much easier to address.
All our ill patterns make our body later ill.
This is a revelation which is Great news as iT shows us also how we Can get a healthy body again or at least stop the ill behavior And embrace the effect iT had on the body.
When we focus on taking everything one step at a time it is in that consistent steadiness that we can complete all our responsibilities.
Simplicity and consistency is key to deepening the quality of our movements.
I always love rereading this blog – I think too often in life we can want to get somewhere immediately without doing the hard work every day – and it’s a great reminder that with commitment and dedication slowly and steadily great change is possible.
And I too love re-reading it Meg. It is always my go-to if I have allowed complication back into my life. I was reminded of it the other day when starting a new job and the first thing my employer said was that we would take it – one step at a time. Of course that had me smiling in agreement and appreciation.
It is something to appreciate that we actually know, we have all the answers, that we just need to listen to the wisdom within us.
It just goes to show we can move mountains if we keep it simple.
One step at a time … and appreciate every step of the way!
Building conscious presence each moment in our lives opens up a whole other guidance system for what needs to be done next as our inner hearts and bodies can feel everything.
Very good sharing of what is such an obvious way to live. Simplicity and consistency are what is required.
This is one big stop moment for you Annelise, one you probably would have preferred to have done without but one that is offering you the space to observe how you live and how you work. I get a sense that you will be willingly taking the lessons learned into your life, one step at a time of course.
Interesting to read this today as I have been stopped in my tracks at the moment sitting here with a broken wrist already for some weeks in plaster. There is such a learning in a period like this and it is indeed one loving step at the time and build a more loving relationship with myself. This week I did some admin jobs at my work and what i noticed was that when it comes to work I put a lot of pressure on myself, l observed myself as I left the loving space I was in (my body) having the idea that I had to do a certain amount of work before I could go, no one was expecting anything of me, just by going into old steps, the movement was there. The next phase in my healing process to let go of these expectations and take it back to one step at the time.
When I forget to take one step at a time, I can get ahead of myself which leads to complication, staying present and focused on what needs to be done in the moment creates simplicity and ease.
Yes, there really is so much to learn from each moment, if we are ahead of ourselves we are likely to miss the moments of magic that are being offered.
Thank you Ingrid, I enjoyed reading this again. It’s a wonderful example of how much we can do when we approach a task lovingly and by placing the care of ourselves and our body first. And a great quote from you “With commitment and consistency, and with one loving step at a time, we can move mountains”. So often motivational talks are just about achieving, but what’s missing is the self love. We can achieve many things but if we are not living connected to our love within we will always feel empty, which may even prompt us to try to achieve even more, and often at the expense of our body and wellbeing.
Melinda, I can so relate to the emptiness of achievement that comes without love. And to do things without love simply means that we have undertaken them in separation to ourselves, with no conscious presence whatsoever. Reading my blog again today I can really feel that each step that I took was taken in full connection to me and that was the loving ingredient that made it such a healing process on many levels.
“One step at a time – anything else is just too tricky!” these words are so tender loving and honouring Ingrid, thank you for sharing your experience of these words and the strength and consistence of your commitment.
Today I have come back to appreciating each little step by focusing on the basics like keeping warm, drinking enough water and getting the rest I need.
I have been inspired to learn a similar truth by watching Wood ants as they work together collecting one fallen pine needle after another to build a large nest mound, which to an ant must feel as enormous as a pyramid.
Thank you Mary, ants are very inspiring, what they achieve by working together is amazing and they never let their size or what’s in front of them prevent their activities.
Beautiful Mary we are so blessed to have nature showing us all the time how life can be.
I love stopping and observing ants at work. They certainly are inspirational as they work together in seeming harmony, taking ‘one step at a time’ as they move their own ‘mountains’. They, as well as so many other parts of nature are some of our greatest teachers.
I hadn’t thought about that but it is true, they are a very good reminder of tenacity, commitment and brotherhood. If we open our eyes there is inspiration everywhere.
Overwhelm is something I only experience when I am not connected to my body. When I am connected my body knows what to do and what to leave for that moment, the order in which to do it and also who to ask for support.
When your body is loud and clear in how much energy it has outside being with itself it makes you choose very consciously what and how you are going to spend that energy. And something that might seem small or insignificant can have an impactful effect.
It is exactly that… a commitment to life but not just in the moments when we feel like it but in every moment. Becoming aware of those moments when I know I am not committing to life such as finding comfort in complication is supporting me to change my movements. In a particular situation I am getting to know the energy that enters my body well before the activity of doing that follows so I have no excuse!
The spaciousness that ‘one step at at time’ allows, brings us back to our body and a feeling of timelessness – a beautiful quality.