I tend to see tough times as a challenge rather than a roadblock and I have a hard time giving up when I sometimes should, but my “Who says I can’t do that … ” attitude has been key to some of my achievements other people said would never happen.
There’s a kind of magic for me involved in making the difficult easy and it requires a mix of visualization and a dogged belief that if I want to do something bad enough, I can.
I tend to think of it as the three I’s and it’s a bit like having a portable Merlin in my head with Imagination, Inspiration and Imagery only waiting to be called upon to take me where I need to go when things get tough.
Being temporarily stuck here in America and so far from my husband John has required more than a few dips into my mental bag of tricks and while I feel fortunate to have friends and family helping me, I sometimes need something more to keep my spirits up. The spinning classes I’ve been taking over the last three weeks have been exactly what I’ve needed to balance the waiting game I’ve been forced to play.
Spinning regularly after a break of many years has been both exhilarating and tough. Like many women my age, I slipped away from a regular fitness routine mostly due to aging joints and injuries and with my love of sugar and carbs, the weight came faster than I could fight it.
I’ve been going to 4 to 6 classes a week over the last three weeks and the rewards are becoming obvious. It is not happening without effort and I have to frequently take myself to other places in my head when the instructor has us increasing the bike tension and climbing hills that require imagination to see and inspiration to reach.
I wanted to show you what I see when the going gets tough in class and I feel like I don’t have anymore to give. When that happens, I use imagery to take myself to a place that is so familiar I can see it just as it is in the photo above. It’s one I took in 2008 of King Arthur’s Hall with Rough Tor and Brown Willy in the background looking across Bodmin Moor.
Sometimes when I’m spinning, I even toss in a wild moorland pony or two and lean briefly to one side as I to swerve to avoid them on my climb to the finish.
What about you … any secrets you want to share with the rest of us on what works for you when things get tough?
* Rough Tor is where I’m standing in my header at the top of my blog.
I know exactly what you mean. After I had my accident where I broke my neck and was in rehap they put my on this bike machine and I’d imagine myself riding around Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. It really works. Congrats on your new fitness regime. Still hoping you can get back to your life soon.
When things get tough? Volunteer! Whether it is at church or a soup kitchen. Give up Christmas one year and buy presents for a poor family. Go to Africa and dig a well in a village so they can have clean drinking water. Go to Thailand and help rescue young girls sold into slavery. Tough? Pray that God will help you through whatever you are going through and open your eyes to someone who has it tougher and you won’t feel so bad after all!
I applaud you for taking on a fitness routine. I can’t even motivate myself to walk, although I am working up a pretty good sweat these days just working in the yard.
With my daughter gone, I keep trying to remind myself even though I have no idea where she is, God knows where she is, and he’s looking out for her. It’s how I get through each hour without going crazy. I also often think of this quote: “God’s plan is exactly what we would want for ourselves if we knew all the facts.”
Sounds as though you are going to have a busy year Elizabeth !
Maybe somewhere between now and Christmas, on your way from digging wells in Africa to saving humanity in Thailand, we could meet up for ten minutes at Heathrow ?
Fairly often in the past seven years (since leaving a bad long-term marriage) I’ve felt overwhelmed or afraid that I couldn’t build a future for myself. At one point I found myself saying, “I can’t do this.” And then another voice chimed in: “Wait a minute…I *am* doing this. Just KEEP doing it.”
I keep that phrase handy.
John’s comment is making me laugh. And I agree with Donna – you ARE doing it. But the q you asked, what do you think of, also makes me laugh. I used to work with a mad biker (as in, cycle cycles) and recall, when we were both working in Wales, him coming in one morning and announcing after what was clearly an exciting outing the evening before in golden setting sun around that hilly region: “So, I’m barreling down this hill about 60 and ….bllaaaaady sheep!!” I never got to the part of whether he stayed on his metal steed or not, cos I, along with all my colleagues, were falling around in laughter picturing the scene. .
So that is what goes through my head. And I admit that when on a rowing machine, I do close my eyes and try to imagine I am really out there on the water. One day, soon, maybe my niece the cox can help make that happen for me.
Continued good wishes and encouragement, Elizabeth, and loads of good wishes and rootings for you, from the other coast. ox
And oh, that is a wonderful, very British feeling picture, too…
E- I am grateful for the gift of your blog. You give time and heart to write inspirational words that help heal and encourage. The honesty and openness of your self- reflection is refreshing. Your journey is a gift to yourself and others. I look forward to each post.
Visualization is very powerful and something I’ve been trying to get back into…along with exercise. When the going gets tough for me, I try to put it in perspective by making a list of all the other things in my life that I’m grateful for….and then I remember that this too shall pass, that’s the great thing about time, life is always changing.
You talked about ….what could be easier…..there is a type of body work…Trager…that continually has you ask the question “What could be easier”….and most of the time I’m in my own way…when I’m not the serenity prayer works wonders for me….spin away…I know what you mean about aging joints…I was doing yoga for a long time and then quit and the pounds come on…just saw the movie Forks over Knives and it was so enlightening….making food choices soooooo much easier….all good things
Good for you!!! When things get rough over the course of a few days, it’s usually a bath, a glass of wine or hot tea and crawling in bed with a good movie. When it extends into the weeks/months, I’m like you — I delve into yoga or swimming in order to take the stress and pressure off of my heart, re-institute balance into my life and search for harmony again, however that looks.
Getting out into Nature always does it for me … I tend to feel trapped in the village never mind in the cottage! So, when things get tough and I can’t do it in actuality I close my eyes and take myself off for a virtual walk across the meadows … or along an empty Cornish beach. Sometimes the visualisations are so effective I can even smell the sea. And soon, if all goes to plan, I will actually be ‘spinning’ in reality – down the Camel Trail on a bicycle … the best of both worlds, beautiful countryside and exercise … I’ll be such a bliss-bunny … : -)
I am still off work with depression, It is the first time, I have been off for more than a week, in my entire life.
So I can only give you this, daydream, Make it your own dream, and include John and the rest of the family, imagine meeting up at the end of the session.
This is just too nerve-wracking for me! When will you be heading ‘home’ to Cornwall? Can’t imagine you missing all those beautiful Summer days at the coast. Hope life is being kind to you dear Elizabeth………….I’m worried. Not being able to meet up with you and John in Devon was bad enough, I can’t get to Atlanta either, so just hope all is OK.
Hope to see you post again soon.
Hugs and best wishes – Mary
I love this post and the picture. I’ve read many books that featured Arthur’s Tor, but that’s the first I’ve actually seen it. I don’t think I’m as good at visualization as you are, but I love the imagery/concept of doing it.
When I’m wading through a tough time, I think for me it’s a blend of just doing the next thing, prayer, journaling, crying as needed, talking with friends and going for prayer walks in the woods.
I’m sad for you that you’re in an obviously difficult situation, but encouraged by your drive to find positive perspectives and outlets.