100_2862 We need to never focus on the elephant of life and wonder how we can tackle it in one swoop.

Someone said to me once , when I was overwhelmed by life’s elephant challenges that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Please now, don’t be going all animal activist on me- I am not eating an elephant, nor have I ever.

At any rate I think of that phrase often at work, at home and at the gym. When we are trying our darndest to save a dollar or two, or when we are attacking the snow, the lawn, whatever we are doing in life. I think of it as  I am driving to and fro.

Last evening at the gym I was reminded again of this as I pedaled a bike to nowhere- but in my mind I was soaring past life’s ugliness.  As I am pedaling as fast as my legs and hips would let me, a woman came and sat on the next bike. I recognized her from a few weeks ago, I had met her in the locker room, her locker close to mine. She was asking me about the gym, about the MP3 player, about how long I had been going to the gym, as she spoke there was an indication that she felt a little out of place… she stated her husband was a member but she had not joined, she was using a guest pass. She said she was thinking of joining but she felt she could not use the equipment because she was too large and because she has been sedentary for so many years. AS if she was not deserving of the gym.

She said her husband was not real supportive and I got the sense that perhaps she felt her husband did not think she would commit to the gym. She was worried she might not be okay to work out. We talked and I mentioned to check with her physician, get an okay to work out and try to take it slowly. She said she thought she would never be able to ride the bike for more than 5 minutes, or ever do the elliptical. I explained to her that once I knew from my doctor that there was not any reason to not do the gym, I started doing the gym. As I reflect on our first conversation100_4037 she was looking at the whole elephant- I had learned many times in life to look at one bite today, another tomorrow. I tried to encourage her, unsure if she had the inner strength to go for the goals she wanted to set. I told her I was glad for the miles I had come towards my goal, and aware that I had many many more to go to get there. I told her the first step in the gym was the toughest for me, and that I felt so out of place the first time I came in. I had to look away from the vastness of the horizon of health, and look at the next stone I has to step on. 

The world of opportunities goes on forever- just like this scenery shot.

So last evening, as she sat next to me, we had eye contact… I smiled at her through my beads of sweat dripping off my bangs and rolling down my face, she sat down , adjusted the tension and she pedaled next to me for about 15 minutes, she altered her pace and never quit. She said something to the affect of she was committed to her goals.

I noticed she had an IPOD and an arm band, and she had her earbuds on and she was moving to the sounds from the IPOD. A sign that she had made a commitment to herself. I felt good for her.

I had already biked for 10 of my 25 minutes, and I got off just before she did. I think she probably got 20 minutes in total. After I wiped down the bike I went to the elliptical and starting going gnarly on that too. She had walked behind me, than to my side, and than got onto the elliptical next to me. She was having trouble figuring out how to get the display up and looked at me with a  look of despair. I told her to just move her legs and the display will come on, she asked me what my settings were, and what the two settings were for.  I explained and told her that when I got on the elliptical the first time I barely got 2 minutes in. She smiled and said “Oh I feel better now, I see you go for a long time. I have to put everything on the lowest settings. I am not good at it.” I told her she may find in a few weeks that she too can go longer. Just take it slow, and it does get easier. I told her she was doing GREAT.

I still do not know her name, but I know her feeling of insecurity, I know her feeling of inadequacy, I know what it is like to look at the horizon and feel frustrated I will never get there, or at the elephant and be overwhelmed with the size. . I watch people doing some things at the gym and know I am not there yet. But I will get there…one step at a time, one bite at a time… and so will she. I am blessed to have my husband who supports the journey .

Believe in yourself, Be true to yourself, because at the end of the day and the beginning of the next- it is YOU you are always with. Love to all, Mrs Justa alias Cindy