I’ve been hibernating in the woods next to the ocean for the last two months. I’ve had lots of time to marinate in the silence and isolation that always calls to me when the nights get long and the natural world sleeps. I’ve also learned a lot. From my woodpile, no less.
The house I’m in is old and the walls are full of love and life well lived. It’s also cold. And damp, especially in the winter. A wood-burning stove is my primary source of heat. Fortunately, the house comes with its own seemingly endless supply of wood. But the wood is out back and there is no one here to help me move it inside.
When I first arrived, I was totally overwhelmed just by the idea of bringing enough wood inside to heat the house. Thinking about it made my back and head hurt. So, for the first few days, I simply turned up the old thermostat and added another layer. I pretended that I was warm enough.
But it was January, the temperature was dropping and heavy rains were in the forecast. I knew I had to face the music and bring in wood. So I bundled up, found some work gloves and headed out back, dreading the process and hoping that once I was sitting in front of a warm fire, it would all be worth it.
As I rounded the corner of the house, the first thing I saw was a wheelbarrow.
AHA!! That will help.
I took the wheelbarrow over to the woodpile and started loading it up one piece at a time, checking every now and then to make sure I could still lift it. When I reached my limit, I took the wheelbarrow to the outside door of the perfectly planned transfer cupboard. Kneeling on a dry plank that I found leaning up against the house, I slowly moved the wood one piece at a time from the wheelbarrow to the inside stack. Three trips later, I had a nice big woodpile that I could access from the inside. Almost as important, I was not in pain.
Inside, I opened the transfer cupboard and followed the same ”break it down” approach to create a smaller “inside woodpile” that would feed my nightly fire.
I can do this! Suddenly, the thought of a warm fire fueled by wood that I had stacked myself gave me the warm fuzzies. I had successfully re-framed the entire process – not by thinking about it, but by doing it!
My woodpile experience reminded me of a lesson I’ve had to learn many times: when I take what feels like an overwhelming task one step at a time, I can do it with relative ease. But I had to take myself outside and START. Only then did the steps become obvious.
What task in your life feels overwhelming? Is fear keeping you frozen in place? What is your woodpile? Start by giving voice to your own challenge.
Maybe you want to start a meditation practice or clear the clutter from the kitchen counter. Maybe you’re ready for an exercise program or an experiment with a new art technique.
Whatever it is, ask yourself this question:
What ONE step can I take right now that will bring me closer to my desire?
Maybe that step is just sitting down and focusing on your breathing for 3 minutes. Maybe it’s taking one pile of stuff from the counter and putting a yellow sticky note on each piece of paper you decide to keep that tells you where its “home” is. Maybe it’s setting a timer for 10 minutes and just writing whatever comes to mind.
Warning! Resist the temptation to tell yourself why you can’t take that step or why it won’t be good enough. Instead, just start. Take that one step. Lean into the process and then lean a little more. Trust that the next step will become clear as soon as you’re ready to take it. And remember, progress is simply a series of single steps!
We’d all love to hear what your woodpile is and what one step you can take towards it. You are not alone. We are all in this together. Share below or on the Facebook page. If you would like help figuring out what step to take, schedule your free ½ hour Laser Lotus Session HERE. We’ll do the work together.
Until next time….just keep stepping and breathing.