A Slow Challenge

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Lao Tzu

I love that quote, it’s so apt at the moment, as the lead up to Christmas has been such a change of pace for me.

This year has whizzed by. It’s brought plenty of challenges, joys and disappointments, however the past month or so has felt like a time warp.

Most of you know the bike ride challenge I was to take part in didn’t happen due to my injury and subsequent hand surgery. However, instead, something else challenged me.

Chatting to riders camped on the Great Vic Bike Ride
Chatting to riders camped on the Great Vic Bike Ride

The past month has been an enforced slow down period. Not being able to drive myself or do many of the every day things I take for granted has made me take stock of where I’m at.

Even trying to blog, using one finger to type on my phone and put together these last few posts has been challenging.

Christmas planning this year has been done more thoughtfully and minimalistically.

Our tree is silver and small instead of big and bold. It’s simple and I love it.

Outside the garden is overgrown and wild but I know in time, and with effort, it’ll change again. Seasons come and seasons go.

I’ve learnt how to wash my hair one handed and I’ve mastered the art of eating with less dexterity and mindfully. Ah, the small things.

In the kitchen Doug has stepped up to the role of head chef with unexpected vigour. He’s concocted Masterchef quality meals that make me think he missed his true vocation.

Slow and steady

No, he’s not cooked me snails! But there are days when I feel as slow as one.

What’s with all the rushing anyway? It’s stressful and way too consuming.

Direction is much more important than speed.

Slow down, enjoy the lead up to Christmas and remember that joy is found in moments when we’re fully present and doing what we love. Try some of these:

Connect yourself to your surroundings.

Enjoy a walk in nature.

Set aside quiet reading time.

Engage fully with people.

Do a random act of kindness.

Journal, listen to music, relax.

Ease up on the shopping frenzy and make your own gifts.

Keep it simple and trust the process.

Take a deep breath and just be.

Be grateful.

2018 has been a time of growth and learning and filled with lessons that I know will continue into next year. Yet every day I wake up is a blessing and every dawn brings new possibilities.

I recently read a post by a blogger friend Weird Guy with the Dog that resonated so deeply I want to include part of it here:

Mornings hold so much promise to me. Another day to make things better, another chance to get it right. When I wake up to the sunrise, I feel the urge to make this day the best it can be regardless of the circumstances that befall my path. Every day I wake up is a blessing, every chirping bird a song from heaven placed into my mind when I stop to let it sink in. People are in such a rush today they miss the moments that really matter. Life is so precious you have to make every moment count.

May your greatest challenge right now be in finding plenty of slow time to savour what’s important.

Remember, your dreams don’t have an expiration date.

In light and love

In response to TPC: Challenge


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102 thoughts on “A Slow Challenge

  1. Perfect timing for me to read this. I love both the opening and ending quotes, I need to write them down!

    Aren’t smaller Christmas trees nice? Less work putting up and taking down. 😁

    Saying a prayer for your quick healing, dearheart. 💗🤗

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It’s lovely to read this post Miriam and yes we all need to slow down. I’m so pleased to hear you’re coping with things and hope you are on the mend now. Your tips are a great reminder and I wish you and your family well for the holidays. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the bike challenge in a different way than how you expected to! Take care xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So very true! The run up to Christmas seems to be at a much slower pace here in the Algarve, but then, I don’t have heaps of presents to buy or people to feed. Our little tree makes me smile every time I look at it, and we went out for a last pre-Christmas walk with the locals this morning, despite a mild drizzle. Life is good, Miriam. Especially since one of the first posts I read today told of the death of a blogging friend. Believe me, I know how lucky I am. God bless, and have a wonderful slow Christmas! 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear that life is good for you Jo. Certainly sounds as though you’re travelling at a more leisurely pace and that’s always a good thing. Sorry to hear about the death of your blogger friend, makes you realise what’s important doesn’t it? Happy Christmas to you too my friend. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We’ve been putting a minimalistic Christmas into practice for a few years now, and enjoy the preceding weeks and the day itself so much more. I wish you a lovely Christmas and a full return to health Miriam.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your post is so peaceful Miriam and that is how we should go about preparations anyway. Your quote by Lao Tzu rings deep and true with me too.
    We hav a lot to learn and sometimes our bodies just put a stop to the rush and we get time to reflect and find new truths.

    I wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year

    Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a huge fan of Escargot. I tried it on a dare at a fancy Christmas dinner when I was 8 years old. I’ve been in love with it ever since. All butter and garlic…..little bite of snail. Lots of bread. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Miriam, your post brought a smile to my face and infused a new level of energy in my thoughts. I second everything you wrote and the process should indeed be trusted and enjoyed. What a beautiful way to express the importance of being simple.
    I am sorry for your injuries and wish you speedy recovery. Glad that instead of losing heart you are learning to be creative 😛 . Take care Friend ! 😀

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  7. I wonder if becoming more minimalist is an age related thing. We have certainly cut back over the years, not just at Christmas but all year round. This year for the first time we are doing secret santa just for the five of us, including our new son-in-law. It’s been so much easier for everyone and just as pleasant to put some thought into one main gift. Having said that, our Christmas tree is quite large and every year when we get it out I say to Mr ET perhaps we should sell it and buy a small one. I’ve just said the same thing again this year and he was horrified, as usual – and it really does look gorgeous now it’s up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so nice! Enjoy your big tree. Perhaps if my hand hadn’t been out of action I’d have been the same but I’m happy with small this year.
      KK at home is a great idea and we’ve started doing something similar, it’s a nice idea and makes everything far more thoughtful. Have a great week Carol.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah Miriam your post resonates with me. I do love the pic of your plaster cast. On Jan 10 2008 my hand was crushed and I quickly learnt a million lessons. That our house wouldn’t be suitable in retirement. That steak is impossible to cut with one hand. There’s more to life than corporate ideals. The Vic Health system is truly amazing. That physio is painful but when you persevere you will get your life back. Then as a form of physio a few years later I took up the ukulele and learnt that even with a dodgy F chord Frosty the Snowman still sounds like Xmas! Hang in there Blogger Mate and enjoy the festive season as best you can. When you are better we’ll have a long lunch and compare scars. 😎 🌲

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, so many lessons and you’re so right about that steak! Actually you’re spot on about a lot of things. Sounds like it was a wake up call for you too. I know it’s just a matter of time before I can do everything again but in the meantime I’m making do. I laughed at your dodgy F chord comment, I do miss my guitar.
      Thanks so much for your words of encouragement and I would absolutely love to get together again for that long lunch and catch up next year. 😊

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  9. Miriam your blogs always move and inspire me and this one even more so. Thank you and also for sharing Weird Man’s thoughtful words. Note to self – Remember remember remember! I really sympathise with your hand problem and the restrictions it has imposed but I know you have turned that to good value. Life has a way eh!? End of year for me is a time to take stock and reflect – amongst the happy craziness of ‘the season’. Yours has been enforced i know but I applaud you being still enough to go with the flow.
    Thank you for reminding me about dreams.
    Enjoy Christmas

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Heather, for all your kind words and good wishes. Life definitely has a way, yes, and whether we’re slowing down or just going with the flow, somehow things always work out. Take care and enjoy the happy craziness of the season and every day after. 🙂

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  10. Hi, Miriam. I also was forced into slowing down a couple of months ago. It wasn’t going to happen without my getting sick. I ended up having a great bludge and everything that needed doing, still got done. A great lesson. I just have to try and remember it now that I’m better. Hope you can manage Christmas lunch without spilling too much. Cheers. Coral.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s amazing isn’t it how, even when we slow down, somehow things always seem to work out. Glad to hear that you’re better now Coral. Enjoy the Christmas season and yes, hopefully I won’t spill too much! Cheers 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Miriam this is a lovely post and I resonate so much with the message. I just went out in my car to run a few errands and was listening to ABC radio and someone called Matt Preston (a judge on MasterChef apparently). I eventually turned the sound off because of the utter rubbish he was spouting about what ‘must’ be on the table at Christmas. My husband and I will be taking off with a bottle of bubbly and a packed lunch on Christmas day (probably to Mornington Peninsula) so there will be nothing on my table on Christmas day at all. Isn’t life about choices? I fully intend to enjoy the day without all the hype. I’m glad you have taken some time to slow down and to enjoy the moment. I wish you and your loved ones a splendid Christmas. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Barbara, I totally get what you’re saying. Yes, life sure is about choices but unfortunately the media and consumerism will always try and shove ideas of how things “should be” in our face. I think your Christmas Day sounds absolutely perfect. May it be sunny, peaceful and full of good cheer for you and your husband and all those you love. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  12. The biggest challenge of all, the putting on of a bra when unable to use both hands, though the Squire had required the necessary patience of doing it when I was able to over the years! Happy to hear you are on the mend. Have an enjoyable time Miriam with your family over the festive season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’ve mastered that one even without my squires help. 🙂 I just don’t undo the straps and I step into it and wriggle it all the way up!!!!
      Cheers Suzanne. Happy festive season to you too. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great post. This is my favorite line, “Direction is much more important than speed.” Even though I truly believe this it is still challenging for me to slow down sometimes.
    I love your attitude and the way you are embracing what there is to learn from your current circumstance. There is a gift in every challenge we face. Take care of your hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sometimes it’s so refreshing to slow right down and appreciate all of those little things isn’t it? Hope the hand is recovering and you’ll be back to 100% very soon.Make the most of having your own personal chef!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I am very much looking forward to the slow down time just a couple of days of madness left then I think I can. Good to hear that Doug is so handy in the kitchen, tell him just to pretend you’re camping. 😁 Hope the recovery keeps going well. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. There’s no need for a vacation to slow down and see all that is before us, only to speed up again and forget what we learned. One can do their job, render unto Ceaser what is Ceasers, yet still soak in what you see hear and touch on a daily basis. Don’t let a single moment pass you by!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Miriam,
    We are slowing down and simplifying here…we gave away all of the Christmas decorations, etc., and let the kids know that we no longer wanted gifts, we wanted them to spend money on travel or family outings. We gift donations in their names to specially selected charities. It feels good; we are able to focus on what is important and slowing down to appreciate the little things is its own gift.
    Nancy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s a wonderful idea Nancy and such a great way to enjoy the season and feel like you’re making a difference without adding to the consumerism. Blessings to you and yours xx 💕

      Like

  18. Love love love this post, Miriam! How true it is when we loose the ability to use a part of our bodies we then become painfully aware how much we miss that part of our body. How we take so much for granted! The quote from fellow blogger I could have written …. every morning is another day for me to again try to get something right that I had not done so previously. Another day to embrace for that day will not ever BE again! I’ve stepped away from Christmas. No cards this year I am doing. No gifts either. I refuse to get even more stressed especially right now after just loosing one of our cats. No. I draw the line and I declare I am slowing down to recover the major loss and the major effort I put forth to give this little guy the best quality of life I could. Christmas is celebrated by me all year round … the spirit of it that is.

    Life has been showing me I must slow down. And I have. I’ve been out more with my camera, in places I just don’t want to leave. You can find me on my couch more often resting by watching a TV series or a good movie or reading a book. I am out walking a lot and when I get my strength fully back after the care I gave to my beloved Max, I plan on going back to a regular exercise program. Now however is me time, and to take care of my family as they are still reeling over the death we experienced. Yep. I’ve stepped off the rat’s wheel. And it feels good!!

    I pray your hand continues to heal, Mariam. Bless you!! YOU take care of YOU! 💝💝💝

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amy, firstly I’m sorry to hear of your loss, it’s never easy is it afterwards and it really does make us take a step back and reassess what’s important. I love what you said about how you celebrate the spirit of Christmas all year round. That’s so beautiful. Must admit I’ve not sent any cards either and the gift buying has been minimalised. Finding joy in nature, in your walks, in reading a quiet book, that’s something we can do all year round but so many of us neglect taking care of our inner self like that. I’m glad you’re not. Good for you for stepping off the rat’s reel. Life’s way too short.
      Thank you for your get well wishes Amy and big hugs to you for a happy and a peaceful Christmas xx 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I always loved the smaller simple trees. Perhaps, it is my religious background that makes me appreciate the simplicity.

    Recently, my thoughts have been on the same page. Slowing doewn to make sure I enjoy everything. For every oment needs to be treasured.

    Be well Miriam.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m so sorry to hear about your injury and your surgery, Miriam! But what a lovely post, and a good reminder for the rest of us. Sometimes life forces us to slow down, and to recognize what is really important and what isn’t. And in those times, we need to pay attention so that we can learn! Merry Christmas, Miriam!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I loved this post, Miriam! Just in time for Christmas and the New Year. We bought a small tree this year. 🙂 I try to practice minimalism after we moved to Seoul. And it’s liberating to have few things in the apartment. I’ve been thinking of you and how have you been coping with daily life. I hope it’s only a week more to go! I’ve kinda lost track of time since we last chatted. I agree about slowing down the pace. I need to keep reminding myself that too. Beautiful words and pictures as always, my friend! Wish you a Joyous Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!
    Sending you a warm hug from chilly Seoul. 🙂 xoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so sweet Cheryl to think of me. Must admit the weeks have all merged into one for me and it’s been a weird time. I don’t get my cast off till 4 Jan and on top of that I’m fighting a chronic case of atopic dermatitis that isn’t responding to any treatment. I’ve been to doctors and specialists and they don’t know what’s causing it. Still, life goes on, one day at a time.
      Enjoy your tree Cheryl and all the festivities. I hope you and Basil have a wonderful Christmas and a bright and happy new year. Sending you lots of hugs and warm hugs from an overcast but warm Melbourne. xx 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so sorry to hear about it. Your cast should have come off by now. I’ve taken so long to reply. I hope your dermatitis has improved. I hope 2019 is better for you. Stay strong my friend. Sending you positive vibes and warm hugs from here. We spent Christmas at Incheon Airport. 🙂 We went for a short trip to Shanghai. We’re back now and I’m thankful for sunny days. Here’s to a New Year filled with hope and love. xoxox

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, my cast came off two days ago. Thanks for your warm encouraging words Cheryl. I’m doing much better in many respects and you know it really doesn’t matter how long it takes to reply. I understand how life gets in the way! Glad the sun is shining for you. Enjoy it all my friend. Yes, here’s to hope and love. xx 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  22. Lovely post. Hope your hand is healing well. Though going at a slower pace doesn’t typically seem to be your preferred method, there is beauty in having the opportunity to really be in the moment and have a little extra time to savor things. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

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