Your decision to walk creates the path ahead.” -Paulo Coelho

I have discovered that life is less stressful when I begin each day slowly and walk through it one step at a time. When I fail to do this, the issues of the day walk all over me, leave me with problems piled high and fill me with stress.  When I begin the day with one small step forward and keep going, I create a path and, with regular use, that path becomes smooth.  This doesn’t happen automatically. I have to make choices and a conscious effort to make it happen.

Ideally, I begin my day in my patio gazing at Flat Top Mesa, tending my succulent garden and planning my day’s activity. However, on busy days when this is not possible, I use a back up plan that I call my “attitude of gratitude”.  I simply pause and consider who and what I’m grateful to have in my life. I remember past successes and prepare myself to repeat or exceed those successes in the coming day.  Having done that, I’m now ready to take that first slow step to get my day going.

  • I walk in a relaxed manner and check periodically throughout the day to ensure that I remain so.
  • I focus on doing what I can do today and letting the other stuff wait until tomorrow.
  • I break complex problems into pieces and work through them one piece at a time.
  • I trust time to give me the insights I need to work through the complexity.
  • I integrate fun moments into my day.
  • I take time to smile, laugh a little and give myself a break.
  • I refuse to be serious all the time.
  • I limit my worrying.  Worry has never been known to change an outcome.  Hence, I limit the amount of time I engage in it.
  • I concentrate on living better today than I did yesterday.

Occasionally, I experience a day when I can’t see the path ahead of me. Once in a while, I’m not even sure that I’m on the right path. Yet, I don’t let that stop me.  This is when I:

  • Recall my daddy saying to me, “If you don’t keep changing direction, you may still end up where you are heading”
  • I recite another magic childhood quote: “There are no wrong turns. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.”
  • When all else fails, I take my brother’s advice and “Keep on keepin’ on” until I see light at the end of the tunnel.

My favorite Olympia Dukakis quote is:  Most of us talk one way and live another.  There are few people who truly, truly “walk the talk”. My goal is to walk the talk each day.

Betty Freeman Haines, an author and award winning columnist, lives in Mesquite, NV.  Her books/e-books, Reluctant Hero and Grieving Sucks or Does It, can be ordered from amazon.comShare your thoughts and opinions with her at