Like all mothers

Frets herself each night

as a stir in a still lake

’til returns daughter

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Every little counts

“Let’s crank it up a notch, shall we?”

Julie stared with silent horror and disgust. His eyebrows, build, and attitude left a sour aftertaste at the foot of her tongue which she swallowed with contempt. She couldn’t believe what she had got herself into.

“Go on, 20 more.”

Heaving off the floor where she’d sprawled after the first 30 pushups, Julie continued without complaint. Unable to see the results of her efforts, she wondered, huffing and puffing, if she should reconsider priorities.

Twelve months later, the gold meddle grazed against her heart.

At the gym, her coach prepared for the next round.

Agent of change

Change is undeniable. Whether it’s immediate, intermittent, or ironic, everyday things are changing every day.

Whether it’s adopting a new route to work, embracing a fresh lifestyle choice, or committing ourselves to a new opportunity, change brings consequences. While some of these changes are self-made and voluntary, some are sudden and downright surprising.

Regardless of how these changes come about, they’re transformational without doubt. They delve deep within us, affecting our inner being, stirring our spirit, and enabling us to showcase our best self.

Transformation is a symbol of new expectations. It brings along hope and a mind ready to take on new challenges. We become more self-reliant, confident, and excited at the prospect of a positive development.

That said, however, transformation can be scary too. Change is uncertain. And when we face such situations, inertia often engulfs us. We hesitate, ponder, and wonder if we are indeed in the right path. It may take some time, but we’ll recognise the goodness in change. Its unfamiliarity may take some getting used to, but once we do, it’s a smooth sail—making it favourable.

That’s why it often helps to change in manageable chunks. Bit by bit—or as Anne Lamott says bird by bird—we can make it a bigger, sustainable change. It’s like climbing a mountain—when we take one step a time, we’re more focussed and the task seems less overwhelming and daunting.

There’s no such thing as a bad transformation. In the long run, changes either alter our lives for the better or leave us with lessons. When nature throws an unwelcome change at us, when we’re least prepared, we feel scared. We wish we’d had some warning, a step-by-step approach so we would’ve got used to it. But life doesn’t always work the way we want. When it forces change upon us, we adapt and learn to live with it. It’s often not obvious, but as humans we are capable of stepping into a current flowing on the opposite direction and learn to swim with it.

Whether we choose it or nature chooses it for us, change affects everyone around us, too. Family, friends, acquaintances, neighbours, and even the prying, annoying, cousins once or twice removed. No matter what anyone says, though, our transformation is ours. If we can accept that, we can also help others accept and understand us. Some may decide to join us, but many won’t. Regardless, resisting change is unwise. Just as we want others to accept our changes, we should accept others’ change as well. By being compassionate and empathetic to others, we become a more evolved and mature human being.

Hoping for a brighter future

Thieving, mining sand

stripping minerals from life

depleting future

Lying

A drunken night it’d been.

Not too long after the wedding, they’d argued, saying things they didn’t mean.

Storming out, he’d stopped at the local bar.

The bartender had been understanding. Pouring his favourite drink, she’d listened all night as he whined. So kind, she’d even offered him her room in the hotel above the bar. He’d been too drunk to drive and sad to go home.

She’d been asleep when he left the following morning. He’d agonised himself before realising his love for his wife.

Regret and a glimmer of lie sustained his marriage.

Until death did them part.