I started with a video interview on Monday morning, and filled the week with coaching, a new workshop proposal, a bike training ride, a photo shoot for a new head shot for my website, an AGM for our charity, Building Hope Society, a meeting of the Stuff Happens group, three dance practices, a new workshop to prepare, and of course my day with Ben. There isn’t any let up this weekend either. Jim is on the board at the Leighton Art Centre and we’ll attend their Sunset Soiree Friday night, followed by my first dance performance of the season early Saturday morning in the Black Diamond parade, and then head to High River to join in the Rotary Club’s incredible lobster dinner. I’ll round the weekend out with a long training ride on Sunday.
I don’t mind weeks like this one. I like the variety and I like the challenge of trying to be present for each activity rather than just surviving it, although I found myself looking at my calendar last Sunday night, feeling a bit overwhelmed and thinking to myself, ‘This too shall pass’.
I’ve often had this expression flit in and out of my head. Sometimes when I have a stressful situation to navigate, I remind myself that nothing lasts forever and that before long this will be a memory. Time has a way of marching forward, not really caring one way or the other whether our minutes are filled with challenging or easy situations. Sometimes I even say to myself, ‘In six hours (or whatever time works), this will be over’. When I’ve been away from home working on a project, or even last summer after I broke my foot while in Scotland, my memory was jogged with the childhood expression of, ‘Only three more sleeps’. It’s a way to remind me that one way or the other, I’ll get to the other side. We all have these moments. Moments that may not be our favourite or that simply cause us some stress and knowing that ‘This too shall pass’ helps us through.
As I lay awake in bed Monday night, thinking about my early morning photo shoot with the wonderful and talented Ruth Skiffington, I got caught in the ridiculous cycle of thinking that goes something like this: ‘If I don’t get to sleep, I’m going to be exhausted in the morning. And then my already tired eyes are going to look really tired. If I get to sleep right now, I can still get five hours. Maybe Ruth can use her magic editing skills. I can still get four hours. I’ve survived lots of days on four hours.’ And then finally peace, ‘Hey, this too shall pass. Tomorrow will come and go. And this really does not matter in the big scheme of things.’
I don’t hate getting my picture taken and our photo shoot, taken on a morning when nature was in full cooperation, was a great experience. It’s looking at the pictures afterward that freaks me out. I’m not exactly sure why this is. I may be wrestling with some old teachings about not drawing too much attention to myself, which is hard to do when there are only two of us present and I’m not the one with the camera! If I’m perfectly honest, I suppose the fantasy I have in my mind doesn’t always match the girl in the photo. When I was telling my sister Mary about this, she could relate, as can, I assume, plenty of people. Mary brilliantly said, ‘I can assure you this, in twenty years you are going to LOVE these photos.’ Oh boy, did she ever hit that one on the head and I thought to myself, oh no, she’s right. Not only about the photos, but about life.
This too, shall pass.
I’ve always used this expression to call attention to the idea that bad or uncomfortable things can be handled because they will eventually pass us by. But this week, since Mary made her comment, I’ve mentally paused many, many times during small, unremarkable but wonderful moments to remind myself that this too, shall pass. When I was hurrying home from a physio appointment to get back in time for our Stuff Happens meeting (this is a little group who helps provide food for some students who are struggling), I reminded myself to relax and enjoy, for this too shall pass. I love being with these other like-minded women. They mean so much more to me than simply group members. They are my friends. I don’t want this time with them to pass.
When Rhonda and I were out biking on a training ride, my foot was tiring and really ‘talking’ to me by the end. I was willing myself back to where we had parked our cars. Then I remembered, this too shall pass. I am not looking forward to the day when I cannot go for a long ride with my friend, nor am I looking forward to the day when I no longer have the confidence to train for a race or for the Ride to Conquer Cancer (donate here). I don’t want it to, but this too, shall pass.
I thought about the video interview I had Monday morning. I prepared well for this. This group, the Women’s Rural Resource Centre, provides shelter and resources for women in crisis. I love the fierceness of the people who make up this group. I love their passion and commitment for advocacy. I am so proud to be able to work with them. Of course, it is stressful to prepare the proposal and later to create the ideal workshop experience for them. But I remind myself, I really don’t want it to but this too, shall pass.
I hosted book club at my house on Thursday night. Everyone in our group leads busy lives. Several of us came to the meeting very tired. At 10:30 when we were sitting around the dining room table and laughing until we cried, someone mentioned they needed to get home or they would not be able to get up for work the next day. In my head I instantly thought, oh that too will pass, meaning that tomorrow would come and go. And then I realized that right now, this crazy laughing at my table, this too shall pass. And I don’t want it to.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What is passing right now?’
Elizabeth is a certified, professional Life and Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership and personal coaching for individuals and teams. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to make the most of what passes through your life.