How to Continue to Strive Forward
Monday July 6, 2020

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“The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings.” -—Kate Chopin, from her novel The Awakening

Exhaustion and fatigue can prompt us to question our pursuit. Even when we know with certainty and a clear mind that the quest is just in its intention and long anticipated and overdue, our mind will be challenged to continue.

But continue we must.

As Kate Chopin’s feminist protagonist Edna Pontellier in The Awakening discovers, without support, without enough enduring strength and knowledge of the situation that is the sea, the pursuit, the dream hard fought for, may not materialize – which is why we need to remember we are not alone.

Much like a lead cyclist in team’s riding group, who takes the brunt of the wind allowing other teammates to rest in the slipstream as they are pulled along by the draft, the leader cannot lead the entire time. They too much rest, and catch the draft from time to time to be pulled along by their fellow teammates.

Each one of us may be feeling exhausted in our current times for one or many reasons which is why our awareness of how to remain strong and clear-eyed is crucial. While some of us live with family and loved ones or in proximity to people who lift our strength, that may not be the case for everyone which is why I offer you the quote below.

 “After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love, and so on — have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear — what remains? Nature remains.” —Walt Whitman

With an abundance of time to myself this summer, and yes, this spring as well, I have done my best to channel it into projects and activities that would not have been able to do otherwise (I also have savored this time with my dogs). For the most part, this has worked well, but like many of you, there are ebbs and flows of our resiliency, and then I came across Walt Whitman’s words which offered the wisdom I needed for just such times.

Without hesitation, I knew he was correct. Having written about the healing and creativity-prompting benefits of spending time regularly in nature both here on the blog and in my second book, it is worth being reminded yet again, to step into nature. Spend time with Mother Nature.

From walking down the path surrounded by nature’s natural hedges, to standing near a river running along which pays no mind the passersby, being amongst nature, not to disrupt, not to change, but just to be, buoys our beings, calms our mind and steadies our ability to travel clearly and resolutely until the destination is met.

As you begin this first full week of July, a week that may not be able to unfold as you had planned not six months ago, find your reserves of strength, seek out the sources, making sure to not deplete them but appreciate them and buoy them, and soar long and well. You are not alone.

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13 thoughts on “How to Continue to Strive Forward

  1. Dear Shannon
    Such a well timed post for me. Thank you!! My family is coming up to a period of huge change (moving to big school, moving area, moving jobs, etc) which when they were planned seemed positive and manageable plus lots of fun things were booked for this Spring and Summer to mark the changes. Having spent the last few months crossing the fun off the list, I thought I was managing well but this last week has been a struggle. Easing of lock-down in the UK
    has made the losses more real and I realise how much I liked and will miss my current life which has to now change. There are things I want to be doing now which I will never again do in the same way.

    We’ll get through but reading your words this morning feels very comforting. I do appreciate all the work you do for us.

    1. Hilary, my thoughts are with you and your family. Thank you for sharing what you are having to go through albeit initially wanted, but now under different circumstances. Take with you the knowledge that has been given through this uncertain time, and I am confident you will be able to apply it in a unique way in your new community. All my best. 😌

  2. I understand. In the few years I lived in NW Portland, surrounded by cement, it was harder to be with Mother Nature. Perhaps you can create a small window sill garden of either herbs or annuals. Or if there are nearby parks, take regular strolls through the greenery?

  3. Nature remains.
    We could never have imagined seven months ago that we’d be living through a global pandemic with no travel. The virus that we hoped would dissipate in the summer heat is spreading like wildfire in some states. Politics continues to divide us, not inspire us. Gardening is the one thing that is bringing me solace now. Nature remains. Let’s all find our strong wings to continue to soar through this.
    Thank you for the reminder!

  4. What lovely thoughts, Shannon. Thank you for your comforting words. I, too, find such solace in nature, and seek it out almost daily when I can.
    One of my favorite snippets of a poem…I wrote it in a journal in 1997…(it is a pleasure/pain to re-read some of my ponderings from my young years) One summer I made it a challenge to memorize a favorite poem every week….and this one still sticks with me:
    “There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
    There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
    There is society, where none intrudes,
    By the deep sea, and music in its roar.
    I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
    From these our interviews, in which I steal
    From all that I may be, or have been before,
    To mingle with the Universe, and feel
    what I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.”
    Byron (from Childe Harolds Pilgrimage)
    I find such pleasure in Mary Oliver’s poetry as well!
    Thank for indulging the poem…wanted to share. 💐🌼
    Enjoy the day! Here in Wisconsin we’ve had endless days of HOT weather…and it’s been a joy to sit outside early in the morning and evening and luxuriate in it!

    1. Jeannine, Thank you so very much for sharing Byron’s poem. A lovely homage and reminder to the comfort of nature. I so appreciate your stopping by and I know I am not alone. Wishing you lovely moments of rejuvenation in the morning and evening. 😌💛

  5. Thank you for the lovely photos of peace and tranquility and the reminder to slow the pace, enjoy the moments, and relish that we are actually blessed with God’s beautiful gift in nature.

  6. Such a great post! I absolutely love this, and I think there is a lot of powerful healing in nature that we always forget about, or maybe even sometimes overlook. Being in nature gets us back into the present moment, the only moment we can really be alive.
    I would like to add to this that I heard about this technique called ‘Grounding’. Apparently, you are supposed to walk outside on the ground barefoot for 30min and it can have tons of beautiful healing effects and relaxes the central nervous system.

    Thanks for the beautiful words!

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