Bit By Bit
“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~St. Francis of Assisi
Toes. Let’s talk toes.
Many years ago—in a former lifetime—I was a stay-at-home mom. It was the 80’s and aerobics was all the rage, and back then I enjoyed sweating.
Back then I wore an assortment of legwarmers, T-shirts, and teeny tiny shorts into which I cannot believe I ever fit, let alone felt comfortable wearing in public.
Ah… the insouciance of youth…
I enrolled in a dance aerobics program which was held in a huge gym at my local YMCA. Routines consisted of complicated choreography set to current pop hits. Arabesque, cross step, 3-step turn, double-clap. I could pretend I was a Broadway dancer.
I liked that part a lot, the pretending part. The stretching part at the end of each hour-long class, not so much.
I’m sure it’s genetic; I come from a long line of tight hamstrings.
Eventually, I was hired as an instructor and therefore now had several performance benchmarks to hit semi-annually: running 2 miles under a certain time; demonstrating strength levels; and the dreaded stretching goals.
I was in my 30’s and in tip-top shape (as I said, a former lifetime), but my toes had been a good six inches out of reach all my life. And I could not even begin to imagine touching my forehead to my knees as I saw others do.
Years passed. Then decades. Life changed. I gave up aerobics, moved to Toronto. Fell and blew out my knee.
No more running or competitive tennis for me.
But the toes… the toes… I wanted to conquer those goddamn toes.
In 2014 I began in earnest—intentionally, thinking of the long-term. This was a year after two knee surgeries and the short-term sort of sucked.
I decided I would touch my stupid toes or die trying.
So, I bent my body forward and reached for the floor and my f*cking toes. Every. Day.
Such a silly little discipline…
Eventually, over the years, my body succumbed to my will and my fingertips touched my toes. Briefly. Then repeatedly.
As of this writing, I am able, finally, to lay my palms on the floor. Briefly. Under ideal circumstances at the end of the day.
To see and feel the result of any daily effort is most gratifying. Even if it’s a silly little thing, like brushing your teeth or making your bed or journaling first thing in the morning… or touching your toes.
It’s the consistency that counts. It’s the practice that pays off.
It’s the persistency that builds confidence and makes possible what once seemed out of reach.
And now… my knees await…
“Practice puts brains in your muscles.” ~Sam Snead