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Start where you are, start easy.
'Do not despise small beginnings'
My illustration this week depicts me sitting on the floor. Come with me as I muse through some ancient history and exercise advice. I’ll explain the floor sitting and bring you some encouragement and hope.
There was a time (about 20 years ago) when I was fit. I had good balance, strength, and endurance. I even hiked the Grand Canyon! In recent years physical injuries and life’s challenges have seen my activity and fitness levels plummet. Over the last month I have been researching what I can do to get fitter.
I came across a book 'Built to Move' it’s subtitled ‘The 10 essential habits to help you move freely and live fully’. ‘Perfect’ I thought ‘this is just what I need’ and I excitedly ordered it. The introduction made great sense to me and my hopes were rising. Then I got to Chapter 1 ‘Getting Up and Down off the Floor’ It begins with a sit and rise assessment. I did the test, I scored 0/10. Not even 1 measly point! My hope vanished. I looked back 20 years when I would have scored 10/10 without difficulty. I put the book on one side and tried to forget about it.
A saying from an ancient prophet popped into my mind.
“Do not despise small beginnings”
Zechariah, 6th Century BC
Zechariah lived in a time when his small nation had been overthrown and taken captive by the Babylonian empire. The Babylonians had destroyed his people’s main city, Jerusalem and its beautiful temple lay in ruins.
Now, I know my body would never have been described as a beautiful temple but there was a time when I could break into a jog, squat down to clear up after my dog, and balance on one leg. The story and a lesson played out in my imagination. The temple in Jerusalem built by Solomon had served a precious purpose for the Jews but was now a ruin. In 587 BC the Babylonian King gave the Jewish people permission to rebuild the temple. Work began and the foundations were laid but opposition and difficulty came and they gave up the building.
I have been like that in my attempts to get fit. I’ve launched more than one project to rebuild me, then given up shortly after starting. I’m not beating myself up for this. I’m just facing the reality of where I am now. I’ve had opposition and difficulty, including physical injury. BUT this doesn’t preclude me from starting again.
Zechariah had seen the attempt to rebuild abandoned for 16 years. He went to Zerubbabel the man who had laid the foundations and encouraged him to start again. He told him that he and those around him were not to despise the small beginnings. Spoiler alert! Zerubbabel listened to Zehariah and led a rebuilding project. A 27 m square temple was completed in only 4 years. It went on to stand, fulfilling it’s purpose, for another 587 years before being destroyed by the Romans.
Now I’m not after 587 years but another 30 years of a fit and functioning body would be great. So taking inspiration from Zechariah I’m going to follow the advice for moving better in ‘Built to Move’ I’m starting where I am and beginning easy. This week I’ve been sitting on the floor stretching my hips and doing breathing exercises.
If you’re following my musings I’ll update you in a month or so with how I’m getting on.
If you are wishing you could do something that seems overwhelming. Don’t let past disappointments put you off. Join me in giving ‘your thing’ a go. Start easy, start where you are. Don’t think a small beginning is unimportant. As ever I’d love to hear from you in the comments.