"Virtually everything in the human experience is accomplished little by little" - Christine Caine, Unexpected
I've been digging audiobooks lately, they're just so convenient! Besides, they're pretty much my only hope for finishing an entire book as a mom. This quote from Christine Caine's latest book, Unexpected, hit me like a ton of bricks the other day as I was driving down I44. It's been stuck in my brain since –an accomplishment on it's own considering my mom-brain is barely able to remember what day it is.
Of course, the fact that we're potty training our toddler doesn't help with my memory difficulties. The only things on my brain lately have been poop, pee and toddler beds (oh and heads up, this post contains a lot more of this kind of talk). An outsider might say we started this potty training process on a whim, but I like to think it was my mother's intuition telling me it was time. Whatever it was, we went for it. About a week ago I threw away all of Judah's diapers and started letting him parade around naked while watching him like a hawk for signs that he was about to make a "potty move."
Overall, we've had a lot of progress. He pees in the potty and is able to sleep through naps and a big portion of the night without having an accident. But of course, we've got some work to do when it comes to number 2. And man has it been a trip. In pretty typical potty training fashion, Judah has learned to "hold it in" until bed time when mom slips away and he can get some privacy. I've tried it all, including stepping out of the room, buying a monitor and watching diligently (conveniently haven't caught it on that), propping his feet up, reading him books and finally making him meals with lots of coconut oil, PB, fiber, etc. to encourage things along.
Yesterday evening, day 5 ish of trying to catch the elusive number two and somewhere around 1 hour after his fourth PB coconut and oat energy ball, I let my guard down and sat on the couch to watch the last 15 minutes of a movie. Before I knew it, I'd missed it, he'd pooped and during waking hours too! AHHHH! So. Frustrating.
The immediate temptation was to just throw in the towel. Give up and put him in a pull-up. But then I remembered the progress we'd already had. I remembered the value of consistency in teaching children and I remembered Christine Caine's words, "everything is accomplished little by little."
Okay, maybe that's a silly illustration, but the principle holds true none the less. Think about it, all the things worth doing in life, the dreams we have take place little by little. Think building a successful business, learning to ride a bike, mastering a new sport or instrument, writing a book, growing a child, building a house, paying off debt or saving for a new house. Every big thing happens little by little. This is the way of life and it's a good thing. If we were given all of our dreams all at once, we likely wouldn't have the skills to be successful. It's in the waiting and the learning that we gain wisdom to take on the responsibilities and develop the necessary skills to master a thing or maintain an achievement once we've got it.
All those people who won the lottery and quickly lost all the money or became depressed and despondent—I'd bet you money (ha) that they said to themselves, "I'll be different, I'll show them that getting rich quickly will work for me, I can handle it."
Our desire for instant gratification is natural and it's so pervasive in today's culture, but it's crushing our patience and our faith in the unseen.
Making peace with food and learning to listen to and nourish your body with intuitive eating is no different. Just like fad diets promise quick weight loss and ultimately deliver weight gain and decreased self-esteem, having an expectation of instant mastery over intuitive eating is setting yourself up for failure. It's a process of learning your body and your needs. We can't walk by what we see, because that's never the end result. Did you overeat one day? Are you enjoying the freedom of IE so much that you hardly have had a veggie in two weeks? Without faith and consistency and a vision of what the future holds, we'd call these things failure. But the truth is these are normal processes on the intuitive eating journey, one that leads to freedom from food and a deeper sense of knowing yourself and your needs.
Likewise, are you trying to make a health change, maybe with the goal of decreasing your blood pressure or improving your blood sugar? Is 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks really sufficient to determine the outcome of that health change? For example, we know that certain behaviors, quitting smoking, increasing potassium rich foods and fiber, decreasing alcohol intake and incorporating movement are ways to improve blood pressure. People who stick with the changes despite early visible evidence are more likely to see the result they want.
This is why focusing weight loss can be harmful. First off, weight loss may or may not be what your body needs. Many bodies are extremely healthy at a higher weight. When we weigh ourselves regularly and judge the fruit of our healthy changes by weight it can derail us from taking care of ourselves. So instead of trusting weight loss, we trust the wisdom of our bodies, the wisdom of our creator. When we act in faith, doing what we know is good for our health, caring for our bodies slowing down, listening and nourishing them, we can be sure that we will be cultivating health not disease.
Little by little, step by step, day by day even year by year we continue to walk in faith towards whatever dream we have. And in the end, we realize that the slow progress, the waiting was a gift. A chance to grow in wisdom, confidence, and skill. And when we find ourselves living our dreams, we think about how each and every one of those "failures" and set-backs taught us something and made us who we are today.
What are you learning right now in the daily walking? What are you dreaming of? I'd love to hear in the comments below!
As for me, I'm pretty certain that those PB coconut and oat balls are magic poop makers and that I will not be watching anything other than my toddler within an hour of feeding them to him :)