It’s been almost six months of this quest to have a Big, Hairy Audacious Year. I’m at the halfway point of my journey, and lately I’ve been travel sick.
I’ve been travel sick before, of course. I can’t read during a flight, or I start to feel queasy. So I knit. If I read in a moving car, I have been known to politely ask for the driver to pull over so I can throw up. When the car I’m riding in is navigating the twisting, windy roads of the area, my stomach will start doing flips on its own, no reading material necessary.
Last week I was driving in a different part of the country, and had to reach for my trusty anti-nausea remedy, ginger candy. The area had such curved, steep roads that I managed to make myself sick with my own driving.
According to my.clevelandclinic.org: “Motion sickness occurs when your brain can’t make sense of information sent from your eyes, ears and body. Lots of motion — in a car, airplane, boat, or even an amusement park ride — can make you feel queasy, clammy, or sick to your stomach.”
My brain and spirit are having trouble making sense of the lack of miraculous transformation in my life: I’m not slim yet, have lost almost no weight despite working on it; I have listed 1710 reasons to praise God, I only need 8290 more by December 5; my home is still cluttered; I’m still occasionally getting in my own way when it comes to finding my best life. I feel like I’m living the truth of Paul’s statement to the church in Rome: “I don’t know what I’m doing because I don’t do what I want to do. Instead I do the thing I hate.” (Romans 7: 15) So the journey is making me feel queasy, and the temptation to give up is strong. My critical self whispers in my spirit, “You’re always going to be this way, weight this much, live like this, so why waste your energy. Eat a pint of ice cream, your life will feel less difficult. Remember, numb equals happy.”
The siren song of living numb is calling to me. It is so attractive to give up and stop working and hoping for “better”, and settle for “good enough”, and give up entirely on “audacious”.
I learned about the power of ginger candy when a series of spins and do-si-dos during a folk dance turned me green. Another dancer shared his ginger with me, and after a few minutes I was ready for another turn on the dance floor. Ginger enabled me to keep moving and to keep participating in my own life.
While the Scylla and Charybdis of unhealthy food and cluttered life sing to me, luring me to crash and miss out on my life, friends and a prayer-full relationship with Jesus are the ginger candy which will help me to keep moving using the mantra of “progress, not perfection.”
If you too sometimes make yourself sick, be gentle with yourself; you may be traveling over rough roads, and it takes a lot of spiritual energy to make sense out of all the information around us, overwhelming our brains, bodies, and coping skills.
Remember: we’re all in this together! Progress, not perfection!
Today’s Prayer Poem: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Grace, peace, and ginger candy to you, Caroline