Monastic Strategies: Just One More Step Each Day

Monastic Strategies: Just One More Step Each Day January 10, 2019

Just One More Step Each Day

We began the year with the best intentions. Choosing our resolutions thoughtfully and with care we set out to make this year an improvement on last year.

Some of us wanted to make significant changes in essential areas of our lives. We had a plan and meaningful, measurable steps to take each day. Our attention was focused on changing our lives in positive ways.

Now, little more than a week since the beginning of the year, what happened?

Many of us feel we have bitten off more than we can chew. Why were our goals so unrealistically high?Where is our will power, our resolve? What were we thinking?

While we may feel discouraged or ready to stop trying, it is too early for that.

It is easy for us to focus on the big picture of our goals and where we want them to take us. Some of us thought the first steps would be the most challenging and things would get easier after that. We may enjoy seeing ourselves stepping for one triumph to the next, overcoming temptations with ease.

Each day is a new opportunity for us to take one more step toward our goals. We do not need to leap forward or race against our own expectations. Just one more step each day will take us where we want to go.

Taking One More Step

Each step is a new beginning.

Starting each new year, each new day, even getting out of bed each morning, we start with one more step. We think things through, assess the risks, make a decision, and get ready to take one more step. Sometimes we need to overcome fear or reluctance, or reassure ourselves we have chosen well. There are times when we need to learn more, gain strength, convince ourselves we are prepared. Each time, we arrive at the point when we are ready to take one more step.

We have already learned how to take steps. Each step has its own challenges, its own obstacles, its own rewards. It is true, we do not need to see the whole staircase to take one more step. We overcome inertia; we build momentum. Each first step leads to a second and a third, each series of steps becomes walking forward.

Whether we spring into action or drag ourselves out of our chairs, every step is in the right direction. Even when we decide to change our direction, our next step moves us forward. When we turn a corner, pause to find our bearings, or even turn around, we take one more step.

Our path is not usually laid out for us, and may be difficult to see. Many of the best paths do not reveal themselves until we have already begun walking. There is a great deal riding on each step we take.

Our lives are built on us taking one more step. Spiritual life draws us to take one more step and we continue our journey. Taking one more step requires courage and understanding.

We open our eyes, take a deep breath, and take one more step.

How Do We Take One More Step?

Taking one more step is more than merely lifting our feet and setting them down again.

Before we begin to lift our feet we look to see where we are and where we are going. It is important for us to know where we want to go and how we plan to get there.

How many steps will it take us to reach our goal? Will we need to take steps back or to the side to take us forward?

We recognize where we are and where we plan to step. Then we look for any obstacles which might block our path. Once we know where we plan to set our feet back on the ground we begin to take one more step.

Some steps take us higher or lower, and some take us around corners. The wisdom of each one depends on where we are trying to walk.

We may take our next steps quickly, like climbing stairs two at a time. Some of our steps are reflective and deliberate like when we walk a labyrinth.

Our steps may be careful or confident, exhausted or energized. Each one carries us further.

There are times when we feel too tired to take even one more step. It takes everything we have within us to take one more step, and one more after it.

Other times we stride with purpose, focused on on what we hope to accomplish. Rested and ready we are convinced one new step will take us closer to where we want to go.

Sometimes the most crucial part of taking one more step is when our foot returns to the ground. We want to be stable and secure.

Where Will One More Step Take Us?

Some of us believe our first step is the most significant. We recognize a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Our first step, and our preparation for it, is important but so is each step which follows it.

One step at a time we make our way toward our goals. We do not need to be discouraged when we have not reached our goal within a week or ten days. Each day of the year is one more step on our path toward our goal.

Some steps seem to take us out of our way. They may not be what we planned. As we look back and see the footprints we have left behind us we can see where each step took us.

There will be times when we will need help from other people to take even one more step.

Some of our steps seem to be more significant than others. Each one, though, is an important piece of our puzzle. Our lives are built by taking one more step.

Where will one more step take us today?

How will we take one more step each day this week?

[Image by QuesterMark]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and coach in Southern California. He is a recovering attorney and a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is  StrategicMonk.com, and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.

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