Saturday, November 28, 2009

new life

I'm not really sure when Advent begins technically. Thanksgiving marks the last feast day in the liturgical year, and the first Sunday of Advent begins the new cycle of the Church's walk of faith through the life and times and impact of Jesus. These in-between days of Friday and Saturday fall where, exactly? Friday might well stand outside of time, considering that many worship the altar of consumer enticements (not an indictment, simply an observation). I'll hedge my bets and refer to today as the Eve of Advent, which, in fact, it is. I suspect most people whose lives aren't influenced by having to prepare sermons and spiritually meaningful activities for others don't think of this time as a beginning, but this year I am very mindful of the concept of beginning. Or, more accurately, beginning again.

I am going to try, again, to improve my health habits. I find motivation in my friend Jayne's faithful commitment to healthier living, and having heard the testimony on Thanksgiving of one who has lost 26 pounds since August on Weight Watchers (and then there's Jules, who has also been successful on that program), I have good role models in this effort. I also have an accountability partner in my faithful canine, Juliet (above, right), who for various reasons has returned to the need to be walked a couple of times a day. She's not shy in letting me know that it's time to put on my walking shoes: she stands in front of me, raises her head and lets out a very vocal demand.

So yesterday we began anew with our walks, morning and evening. The morning walk followed the pattern of old, echoing the days before we had the invisible fence and I walked the dogs faithfully for their relief and pleasure. The morning route is always the same to minimize encountering vehicles bound for work. The evening route, however, varies. Last night as Juliet and I turned toward our old neighborhood I was overwhelmed by the nostalgia of earlier walks. The twice-daily walks of three years ago were born of necessity, but became for me an opportunity to enjoy the dogs without other distractions, and to entertain whatever thoughts might stray into the path of my consciousness. Those were also halcyon days of hope and possibility only barely strained by the weight of vocational, financial and family challenges. Hope and possibility are still present, but are often overshadowed by more urgent and pressing concerns.

To be visited by the pleasant ghosts of those previous journeys was bittersweet. I recognized the gift they were and can be again, now, at a time when such a gift is more than welcome. And I missed the companion who was part of those earlier forays through the neighborhood, my beloved Dooley. It is a comfort, in a way, to trace the paths of which he was a constant part, and to recall his peppy gait, happy expressions, and overflowing personality. I can feel rekindled the joy that he was in my life, and let the warmth of that fill my heart. I see in this remembrance, as well, an invitation to reclaim a ritual of peace and grounding. It is well and good to find motivation in the acts and successes of others, but it is better still to be empowered from wtihin by my own capacity of strength and resilience.

So I am marking today as a new beginning. It will have its bumps and jolts, its fits and starts, but the need and desire to be launched is greater than a desire to indulge the ease of inertia. It is time, literally, to put one foot in front of the other and move. Walks with the dogs never brought me back to the house the same person I was when we ventured forth. I can be satisfied, for now, to measure momentum one step at a time. Before I know it those steps will give way to strides, and with those strides I will cover ground I can only imagine now.

Juliet is waiting patiently. My future cannot afford to wait any longer.

Prayers for a blessed Advent.
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3 comments:

Jayne said...

It's not about "will power" but rather about truly making a choice. Empowering yourself to know that you can. We all can. There is comfort in habits, bad and good, and so when we get into a rut, we simply have to behave ourselves back into a healthy place. You can do it! I am here to be your cheerleader. :c)

The Bug said...

What Jayne said LOL!

Kellee said...

Jayne said it beautifully!

I have lost 58.8 pounds since August 18th. I began on a prepackaged program but after about 9 weeks transitioned to a low cal/low fat diet of my own invention...the one consistent factor through it all has been exercise though, walking is my choice, 4-5 times a week.

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