Alice laughed. “One can’t believe impossible things.
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.“
Luckily, I have only two difficult things to do before January, but they are going to take all my focus for the rest of the year.
One is a pilgrimage in Tuscany in September, walking 8-14 miles a day. Since I am currently walking 4.5 miles most days, it will be a challenge! But not an impossible one! My reading (yeah, my first step to doing anything: buy a book!) suggests that one can, relatively easily, increase one’s total weekly mileage by 10 % each week, (and, with steady training, it is possible to go from couch to running a half marathon in six months) so I am optimistic that I will get there. Walking hills easily—um… um..
I think the only way I will be able to easily walk 8-14 miles a day in the hills of Tuscany in September (given my current fitness) is to take up running. Fortunately, I love running far more than walking. (I can’t run fast yet, alas, but running unleashes endorphins and endocannabinoids so that I return euphoric, happy, mentally clear, thinking positively, feeling optimistic and loving, with “calm of mind, all passion spent,” in Milton’s phrase.
In such a state of mind, one feels less need to manipulate one’s brain chemistry to find a high through the highly addictive salt, sugar, fat, or chocolate which has been the bane of my life for so many years.
I am reading a fascinating book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg which talks about keystone habits. Implementing these unleashes a cascade of positive changes in people’s lives.
One of these keystone habits, unsurprisingly, is exercise. You end up eating better partly because you need to for your run, and partly because the endorphins your run generates means you need less “comfort food,” and also because it’s hard to undo the effects of a run with a heavy, unhealthy meal. You think better, work better, and sleep better. The confidence generated by taking up challenging exercise spills over into work, relationships, adopting new challenges, etc.
* * *
The other difficult thing I plan to do by December is to complete my memoir of an Indian Catholic childhood, on which I have worked off and on for 15 years, though I more or less shelved it in 2006. But I feel uneasy and discontent until it is wrapped up, and now the time has come to do so.
I have signed with Darrell Vesterfelt of Prodigal Press, and my book will be published in April 2014. Which means I have to finish it by December. Which means serious hours of work.
I feel God has been beautifully stitching my life together. The running will help me be mentally fresh and physically capable of the hours at my desk that it’s going to take to finish this book by December.
I have a first draft of the book, but need the structure (turning in weekly chapters) and encouragement, editing and coaching that Darrell and Prodigal Press will provide to have it done by December.
* * *
I am meditating through the Gospel of Matthew at moment.
Repent for the Kingdom of God is near, (Matt 3:2). So the adult Jesus is introduced in the Gospel of John. Repent, a 180 degree turn from doing your own thing to living in the Kingdom, in the force field of God’s presence and power, doing things as God enables you.
I have had a very pleasant, though hedonistic holiday in Corfu, but now that I am home, discipline feels sweet to my soul.
Repenting, turning, returning. Back to a more disciplined way of eating, turning away from the pleasures of souvlaki, gyros, spanakopita, moussaka, baklava, and halwa to things which unequivocally bless my body, a plethora of fruits and veggies and beans and sprouts. (Roy is becoming a gourmet veggie cook, so don’t feel too sad for me).
No more staying up late, and sleeping in, but returning to a disciplined sleep/wake schedule. Early to bed!!
And lazy beach walks and desultory hikes will be replaced by determined 7-8 km run/walks. Am doing a 7 km race walk in Hyde Park on April 14th. Join me?
Ah, back to discipline. Reading, writing for long hours, with Pomodoro breaks every 25 minutes to tidy up, and the internet switched off with Antisocial and Stayfocusd, wonderful apps.
Discipline, anchored in the vine! If I try to be disciplined on my own strength, energy and enthusiasm, well, they soon peter out, but anchored in Jesus, with his sweet life flowing through me, ah, in that there is hope!!
What are your challenges for the rest of the year? Tell me!