Small Steps Matter


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With all the things that aren’t going well in the world today, it’s easy to sink into a mindset of hopelessness, and wonder whether anything we do matters in the long run. My friend was asking: “What if I do good for the environment, and someone else comes along and ruins all the progress I made?”

& that’s the thing – we don’t truly know if all our hard work will pay off long-term. But another way of looking at it is this: we are all going to pass away one day. If what we do can create the slightest moment of peace or breath of fresh air in the world, and make someone or something’s life more bearable, then I would say it is worth it.

It’s a humbling thing about life – we’re faced with situations outside of our control, obstacles that can seem insurmountable. Yet for the heroes, scientists and philanthropists of the past, that hasn’t stopped them from reaching for the stars, and trying their best. The protagonist of every novel never knows whether they will make it to the end, or get what they were looking for. Death, loss, betrayal and tragedy are possible at every turn. Bad things still happen to good people.

It's a question of whether we choose to give up in the moment, and wait for a better day to come, or give it our best shot…and many times, we land somewhere in between. I don’t fault anyone for doing either. I just notice that at some point, I can’t not try anymore. Not trying becomes a worse death than putting myself in the fray, giving it my all and getting my heart broken again.

I think a large part of all this is spiritual too. Forces of nature, natural disasters, man-made problems as a whole, even how human beings are designed…most of it is outside our control and – in the eyes of many – really in the universe’s hands. Prayer, for instance, is something people do to get the Universe’s help on oppressive obstacles, like the ones I am talking about. It looks and often feels like trying to purify a black ocean with a drop of pure water. So why do it? What is the point? I know that when I pray, it opens my heart more to see the blessings of life, and the situation…I pass my anxieties and fears to The Universe and try to let them go, and ultimately it raises my energy level to one of love. The Universe doesn’t need our prayers to do its will or work its miracles. But when we pray, we are telling the Universe that we trust it, we appreciate it, we love it, and we have faith that everything that happens is exactly what we need to grow…and do what we were put in the world to do. We’re open to see blessings that we wouldn’t have otherwise noticed, and that gives us the strength and hope to keep on going. Prayer helps us align ourselves with the will of the Universe, and let go of resistance to what is.

In a similar way, taking small steps and actions also raises our energy to receive more of life’s blessings. When I do one small good thing, or even spend 5 minutes thinking about how I could create a good outcome in a tough situation, I am telling myself there is hope; I am telling myself that I matter, that I can do something; I am telling myself that freedom is possible. Freedom from all the weight and baggage of the past. I am expressing the life and the good that is already within me. I am love. I am peace. I am enough and I always have been.

Small steps matter, because all we really have is the present moment. Some people are great at tapping into the moment when they’re faced with a dire situation. They’re aware of what’s in their power to do, and they try to protect what’s most important to them – whether it’s themselves or their loved ones. All we can physically do or conceive of is right now.

As human beings with limited bandwidth, I don’t think we’re meant to be heroes – at least not on our own. None of us are born being good at all things – we have to work to improve – and enlisting the strengths of those who are good at doing the things we’re not so good at, can get us much farther than trying to do everything on our own.

“There is nothing to prove.” We don’t need to get attached to the progress we’re making on the outside world, especially if it depends on other people - as it is largely outside our control. We don’t need to prove that we’re more mighty than we really are. Sometimes we experience intense emotions that are also outside our control – and who are we to think that we can make them all go away in the snap of a finger? That would be unrealistic. Saying that I’m strong, trying to bottle up all my emotions, usually leads to emotionally falling apart down the road. It’s such a relief to not expect myself to pretend anymore.

“There is nothing to prove, because I am and have always been connected with everything and everyone else in the universe.” I am a co-creator in the universe. I don’t need to prove my worth to be accepted or to belong. I belong by default. Believing anything other than this truth creates unnecessary stress and friction in my life…I cannot control how successful people think I am. I cannot control what my inner critic is saying by default. All I can do is act as if I belong already, and look for the evidence that I do belong.

“There is nothing wrong with me – I don’t need to be 10x more than I already am right now.” Any belief that something is wrong with me will take me back to that painful place of not belonging…and that will hold me back in life. I am just like every other human being, with my bad days and downtimes. Emotions like fear, anger and even greed have the positive intent of protecting me and helping me get to a state of wholeness and happiness, even though they are not always pleasant to deal with & even if they lead me to do the wrong things at times. So from that perspective, there is nothing wrong with me. Going forward, there is a rule I can set for myself – to not worry about doing more than I can right now.

‘Small steps matter, because that’s what I can do right now.” As great as it is to imagine my full potential unleashing itself, all the great things I can do in this lifetime, I need to work with the energy I’ve got, and not wish I were ten steps farther ahead, and resist the humbling problems I have to deal with in front of me.

I can take a million small steps, and try a million things that don’t work…because I know that through trying, I open even a minuscule chance – or a bigger chance – that something will go right. That I will find the happiness and satisfaction along the way…and maybe it isn’t even about the happiness and satisfaction, but who I allow myself to be in the process. And that is healing, and that is transformation.