The other day I was teaching my class in Santa Fe. It is an ongoing, twelve-week class, and over the course of the three months, I get to know my students well. One man in the front row had consistently talked about how the benefits of walking had helped him immensely. As the course progressed, I watched his demeanor and physicality change. His posture improved, he had more color, and he said he felt more optimistic than he had in years.
Last week during check-in, this man was visibly frustrated. When I prodded him, he admitted that he had missed his walks this week “because it had been raining.”
“It changed my whole week,” he complained darkly. “I couldn’t walk, and so I gave up on other things, too. I missed two days of Morning Pages and I didn’t take an Artist Date, either.”
I asked the class if anyone else had missed their walks. A couple of people had decided not to venture into the rain, but overall, the class had rallied, and, wet or not, had continued using the Basic Tools. “It reminded me of being a child, having to go to school no matter what,” one student offered. “I put on my boots and my raincoat and went out into the rain. It actually felt great.”
I still understood how my frustrated student felt, though. It’s a case of “what’s the use”—we miss one tool and then decide to give up on others. Like a person on a diet who eats dessert and then binges for a week “because they messed up anyway,” we must remind ourselves that we can always get back on track immediately—there is no need to punish ourselves for our mistakes.
Rather, we must forgive ourselves, and resume our program. Charge out into the rain, and carry on!