“One Step At a Time – Anything Else is Just Too Tricky!”

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    

Further Reading:
What’s All The Fuss About Self-Care?
I Found Observing My Body Is A Great Support
Mowing The Lawn – With Tenderness

889 thoughts on ““One Step At a Time – Anything Else is Just Too Tricky!”

  1. I love this analogy as it is very true in getting back into something that you may have put off and that seems to big, that it is just about starting, taking one step at a time and putting into motion what is there to be done at a steady pace.

  2. I had to laugh at your question…”Do you head straight to the fridge?” That has been what I have done my whole life. I recall the first thing I did everyday when I got home from school was open the fridge, peruse it’s contents and then have something to eat and I have done this ever since. It’s been interesting to observe this pattern and my behaviour to understand that I have never really expressed what has gone on during my day, shared the detail of my experiences and because of that eat instead. So I am now learning to open up and express instead. Interestingly how I eat is beginning to shift and I can see through the feelings of hunger…which is true or not true.

  3. I read this blog a long time ago and it’s beautiful to return to it, I think most of us live one billion steps at a time, but what this reminds me is that – ALWAYS quality first, before movement, before jobs, before anything that needs to be done. It’s never ever worth sacrificing the quality of our body.

  4. And the thing is you see, is that is only when we are taking one step at a time that we can actually be ourselves, the with ourselves, be present, and actually take full responsibility for that step… And then guess what?… The next step can tend to take care of itself ☺

  5. It is so easy to put off those stop moments which are really a gift for us, but I know i often ignore them in order to complete what I “need” to do. It is such a self loving choice to stop and feel what is in truth required. Thank you Ingrid- so many lessons for me in this blog.

  6. What a great learning. And something I need to take heed of more often. I can be a little impatient sometimes and want everything today right then and now. Much to my surprise, it doesn’t work ;).

    We can move mountains with ease if consistent efforts are made day in and day out.

  7. I love revisiting this blog Ingrid. “With commitment and consistency, and with one loving step at a time, we can move mountains”. I am gradually learning to do things one step at a time, rather than go into numbing reaction and overwhelm, so this is a timely read.

  8. I love what this shares of keeping things in perspective, being connected to ourselves and just doing what is in front of us to be done.

  9. When our commitment is consistent and founded on the simplicity of taking one step at a time, one day at a time, it closes the door to complexity and the tricky pictures we have in our head of how life ‘should look and be’ and makes every day much more effortless and enjoyable.

  10. Ingrid, what perfect timing for me as I feel my world crumbling under the stress and ridiculous pressure I feel at my work. A great reminder that overwhelm is actually quite dangerous and that ultimately it’s not worth it. One step at a time.

  11. What I love about your significant wood pile is the fact that, it may have taken some time to create, but the job/task was so enjoyable to you because it didn’t have the drive and push to do it. this is pretty important and extraordinary.

  12. When there is a big job to be done, it seems too big, and I am often wondering, when will I get to the end? But as you say, one step at a time, and if we can also add appreciation of our being present, rather than what we are doing, seeming miracles can occur.

  13. This is great Ingrid, the depth of meaning and revelation is such a brilliant life lesson. To actually live the experience is such a different feeling than being told. Once lived through the gentle loving commitment and connection to the body it’s not seen as some huge task to do but forms part of our rhythm and foundation of our life. It is quite amazing what can be achieved when our movements are inspired simply from with-in our bodies and not the list from our head.

  14. This is a simple yet powerful reminder that anything can be achieved. It is actually possible to move wood piles without drive, making sure we are taking care of ourselves, if we choose connection rather than overwhelm.

  15. ““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 absolutely love this Ingrid, and it is such a perfect reminder for us all that it does not pay to go into overwhelm, but it is so worth lifting one wood piece at a time and building the care and consistency and commitment.

  16. Overwhelm is a horrible feeling but what I have learned is that it is a choice. On the whole I have given up on to do lists because the list of things to do is always endless and just writing them all down used to create a feeling of overwhelm. I used to think, if I can get all of this done, I can stop and relax, but I never got it all done, I would knock one thing off the list and two would appear to be added. Instead now I simply do what feels needed and leave the rest to present themselves when and if they are needed.

    1. I can relate to what you’ve shared Doug, overwhelm I agree is a choice. I have learnt how to let go of overwhelm by applying commitment, consistency and trusting what I feel to do and when.

  17. Ingrid, what a very practical and tangible example of how simple it can be if we take it one step at a time, and just stay with that task and see and feel how much we can do while take those small steps. It really shows that overwhelm is a choice or a failure to see the next simple step we can take, and clearly shows we are absolutely ahead of ourselves and our bodies.

  18. It is incredible what we can do when we apply commitment and consistency. When we focus on what is before us, choosing to stay present and listen to our body, then it feels like nothing is too tricky. I have recently realised how powerful we are when we listen to our body and apply commitment and consistency to everything that we do, amazing flow is present and things get done so effortlessly.

  19. Listening to our bodies is everything, I know for myself how easily I ignore signals of my body and delay a stop moment. Just this week I allowed myself a nap in the afternoon before going into my evening shift and it felt so supportive not only for my body but also in the quality I bring to the clients I visit in my evening shift. Commitment and consistency are amazing tools to build a solid connection with our body – step by step, one step at a time.

  20. This shows me that there is nothing that is too much, we only need to take it on and make the small steps needed in conscious presence to move the work we need to do.

  21. The more I connect to what my body feels like, the more I hear the truth of where it’s at and what it can manage. As much as I might want to move mountains, there are no shortcuts and no magic formula. It really is about making conscious presence the focus in each and every moment: how does my body feel, and from there, what needs doing next.

  22. I love reading your blog again Ingrid, reminding me to take everything one step at a time. There is no need to go into overwhelm or stress because once I choose to be connected to my body and my task, then everything flows and will eventually get done by applying consistency and commitment. It amazes me how much I can get done and the quality it is done in when I apply this to my tasks.

  23. From my experience, overwhelm is a choice I make to keep myself separated from being and feeling the oneness I am part of. If I don’t choose to be in overwhelm then I am free to be in a flow and do what needs to be done. When I’m aware, I can feel that there is actually time to do what is needed without having to do everything at once. This has been a great support.

  24. Beautiful Ingrid, remaining present and gentle is quite something in reality, even though it sounds simple and easy. I know I am so programmed to ‘get things done’ well ahead of any deeper or more subtle consideration of my body that getting things done the way you’ve described would be quite a challenge.

  25. I love returning to this story Ingrid, we are taught nowadays to get there as fast as we possibly can, but this method often lacks the foundation to support us once we do get there, whereas what you have described here about taking one step at a time feels rock solid.

  26. When we feel overwhelmed by the mountain in front of us we can either give up or drive ourselves to scramble over the rocks as fast as we can in disregard of the impact on our body. When we choose to stay connected to ourselves and take the next step in front of us the next step has already been taken.

  27. Ingrid,
    I love this blog so much. It is supporting me to be very present with my body. I feel there is much change coming in my life, and that to meet it with the steadiness that I only can do, when I am present, is the way to be as the changes occur. The adage one step at a time is a truth we could all connect with and live by.

  28. ‘One step at a time’ seems to be the perfect medicine for the anxiety and overwhelm we can feel at times as if life was too big, too demanding, too difficult, too much to cope with. When it is said that we are equipped to deal with everything life presents to us I feel it is in every step one after the other that we can experience the truth of this statement just as you did when carrying one piece of wood after the other instead of overwhelming yourself with the whole pile at once.

  29. The message you write here is so important. We are so often in overwhelm of all that we need to do. But this overwhelm doesn’t bring us anywhere but further away from the end result and who we truly are.

  30. This is inspiring, to look at bringing a steady commitment to my daily tasks. Being present and in the moment, not exhausting myself with the extent of effort I can put into tasks by not doing it in full presence.

  31. Amazing. I have just made the connection that taking one step at time is the equivalent of doing one thing at a time. So when I have my fingers in many pies and are doing lots of tasks at once it is the equivalent of walking multiple steps at a time – but, I only have one physical body that can only take one step at a time. No wonder when we get caught in the trap of busyness we feel overwhelmed, we are inundated with too many steps and yes, this definitely makes everything far more tricky.

  32. I sometimes use up more energy procrastinating instead of just starting the job and doing it ‘one step at a time.’

    1. I can so relate to this Debra as procrastination has been a long time behaviour of mine, one that I hated with a vengeance but at the same time struggled to heal. When I think of how much time I have spent in this life putting things off or simply pretending they are not there I cringe, but unlike in the past I no longer beat myself up over it; these days I ask myself the very simple question – ‘what it is I am trying to avoid?’ followed by ‘it’s not going away so let’s start with taking ……one step at a time!’

    1. And it’s amazing the quality we end the task in – not depleted or drained but vital and present because we have honoured our body and not left ourselves at the expense of our bodies just to complete a task.

  33. For me this blog is like that picture on your fridge, coming back to it today and asking myself “what is one simple thing I can do right now” really supported me to bring it back to basics. We buy into and get sold the notion that the more we do and the faster we do it the more worthy we are, but this only leaves us anxious and exhausted. Focusing on one thing at a time I feel like there is more space around me, less constricted and able to breathe and feel lighter, which then makes whatever I am doing a breeze rather than a ‘my life depends on it’ survival style situation.

  34. Ingrid, this old picture kept on your fridge for so many years obviously remained there for its great wisdom to be appreciated in full! Your own body reflecting back through illness the inner wisdom that finally brought you back, full circle, to appreciate the truth in your fridge picture.
    “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”

  35. Ingrid, you should’ve got someone to photograph you next to the woodpile, turned it into a magnet and added your quote! I can definitely get caught up in busy-ness of life – so nice to have that reflection that we don’t have to rush and put ourselves out to get the job done.

  36. A simple and gorgeous blog Ingrid. Thank you. I love the analogy of the woodpile – you seeing it slowly move from one side to the other, the conscious presence and ease you did this with without any pressure or expectation and how your body reflected the utter support you gave it. Life lived with one true step at a time is far more nourishing than ten wasted rushed steps that only deplete us.

  37. It can be so easy to get lost or even consumed by to do lists and either push to get them done… or lack the commitment and put it all off till another day. But few bring the concept of quality into the things we do and yet as you have shown… the power of this is remarkable and what we can achieve incredible.

  38. I love this blog, so simple “I knew that I was tired after a very full on year and I knew that I needed to stop” – I have been overriding this in myself, I have a picture in my head of how I should be and live, one that is not true, and stopping me listening to my body. I still think it’s not okay to rest for prolonged periods of time. I had a really full on and tough few months last year, with a close family member passing over, I don’t think I have actually stopped and allowed myself to feel this or how tired my body is. I keep pushing through. And it’s being reflected to me. And actually allowing and saying to myself it’s okay to rest.

  39. Ingrid when you mentioned the tactics we resort to when faced with overwhelm for me it was a case of all of the above! Gradually I have come to realise that none of these coping mechanisms actually work and if anything make things worse. Simply staying steady in my connection with my body and taking it one step at a time, one task at a time, has been a very supportive way of overcoming this dilemma.

    1. I know that too Andrew, only when I go for one step at a time life becomes a flow, a succession of steps with the quality of me which in turn confirms the full me in every step I make.

  40. It’s hilarious really that it is our mind that comes up with ‘the impossible list’ in the first place and then our mind that then turns around and complains and says the list is impossible! I have found that when I live my life from my body rather than from my mind, the thoughts I get are very different and as you shared here so wisely Ingrid, our bodies have a wisdom that knows how and when to do something and when is exactly the right time to do it.

  41. “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 was a past master at doing anything other than stopping and connecting and was always trying to multi-task – much pride was in that so-called ability too. I would get fidgetty when doing just one thing at a time – as my mind was flying all over the place, thinking of everything that had to be done now! I now realise the stress that caused. Bringing attention to the one thing I am doing – which right now is typing this comment – has made a big difference to my life. Bringing mind and body together also seems to make more time……..

  42. A beautiful story Ingrid. I love how you really just allowed yourself the space to feel what you needed rather than be annoyed you were sick and not as strong as you were before. It’s a completely different approach to life, and one that serves such a greater purpose. Why do we spend our lives worrying? I mean, it’s incessant, and pointless.

  43. This blog is a great lesson that life is just a succession of steps, one at a time and when done with full presence of our mind and it not rushing a few steps ahead, life will get a quality that is unknown for many and already lived by some.

  44. When we move with presence in each moment there is a notable difference in the flow of our movements and you can feel ease and space which allows for greater opportunities of learning. It is here that we can observe our bodies and make a choice to continue to move from our connection or not. I love the simplicity it offers.

    1. Once we commit to moving “with presence in each moment” when we are not moving with this level of consciousness it becomes so obvious as it feels so uncomfortable in our body; we do not flow and there is definitely no simplicity as every movement feels complicated. Moving in harmony with our body though is easy and it is effortless and it opens us space for us to observe so clearly what is going on in and around us.

  45. Having had a really exhausting week the title of this blog came to me once again. Rather than focusing on how flat out exhausted I feel, the overwhelm that came with thinking about what my exhausted body had to do today I told myself ‘One thing at a time, anything else is just too tricky!’ I still feel exhausted but less overwhelmed and more focused on supporting myself one step at a time. Simple and stress free. Thank you Ingrid.

  46. I used to run my life on ” to do lists” and can honestly say that it didn’t work as it only ended up in feeling exhausted as a result of having to rely on my nervous system to get everything done, letting go of this hasn’t been easy but the more I embrace and appreciate myself for who I am the more I am learning to surrender and trust that everything gets done as needed with a level of simplicity and effortlessness never before imagined.

  47. Thank you Ingrid, I have a big pile of boxes from moving that need to be sorted through, you have inspire me to do just a bit but consistently, I’m sure my big pile of boxes will soon whittle down. I’ve been looking at it as a big job, and it is, but not so much with a small bit everyday, just like your woodpile.

  48. Thanks for sharing Ingrid – what this highlights is that if we live in a way where we wait for a holiday to have a break – then we put a lot of strain on our bodies. Whereas there is an opportunity to live all the time in purpose – so we don’t wait for or need a break from life – we build a consistent and supportive way of living where we don’t get to the point of being anxious or stressed, There is always a choice…

    1. And the amazing thing is Kim that these ‘incredible feats’ don’t have put a strain on our body, or end up injuring us, if we simply take the time to be with ourselves when we undertake them; some we may even feel to put off until another day as doing it today may actually not be as essential as we had convinced ourselves that it is. The philosophy of “one step at a time” is one that I continue to live by these days and my body sure appreciates that I do.

  49. Overwhelm used to be familiar territory for me in fact there was almost a comfort in feeling overwhelmed and sorry for myself and I can relate to hoping the ‘work angel’ (or anyone other than me!) would sort stuff out. Supporting myself by taking loving care of myself rather than waiting for others to notice that I am overwhelmed and rescue me means I am much more likely to recognise when I am heading for overwhelm and I can then choose to connect and take ‘one step at a time’.

  50. ‘With commitment and consistency, and with one loving step at a time, we can move mountains’ Your inspirational words have so much power Ingrid. I will take them with me into my day because part of my role is to support and motivate clients to resume activities and the story of your wood pile is so relatable.

    1. How wonderful to hear that you work with clients to “support and motivate” them. It is also very challenging to return to work after being sick or injured ,or even simply returning to every day life. I am coming back to this blog at the moment as I am returning to work after a long period of time of not being able to work, and it’s certainly one step at a time for me too.

  51. Thank you Ingrid for a great reminder of how not to get overwhelmed by a task by just taking, “one step at a time’ – so simple, really.

  52. When you shared that you really wanted to walk, knowing that’s what your body needed to support it, I stopped and deeply pondered on this very simple truth. I myself have not yet full embraced just how important it is to fully honour my body and its needs, this article brings home a physical reality of its importance.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s