The one time I took a sewing class, which was mandatory in high school at the time, I hated it. We spent so much time learning the basics and repeating the steps that I soon lost interest. All I wanted to do was make something. I had ideas of making clothes and designing outfits which required I learn to sew. Instead of making fabulous outfits though, we spent weeks having to practice repeatedly setting up the machine, loading bobbins, changing needles and cleaning the machine! By the time we got to sew our first two pieces of fabric together I was over the experience.
Today, I don’t make clothes but I do make quilts. I spend hours at my machine creating these huge warm quilts that are often become treasures for years to come. I caught myself remembering my first sewing class when I was replacing a thread bobbin and laughed. Regardless of the machine I am sitting at, I can spin up and replace a bobbin without even thinking about it. That broken needle will be replaced with a new sharp one in a minute or less so I can get back to sewing and quilting. All that is possible because I had spent weeks repeating these tasks over and over again in a high school sewing class.
I didn’t see the value of knowing the basics for operating a sewing machine back then. I couldn’t see the point of spending all this time repeating steps over and over and yet today those basics save me a lot of time. This sadly is just one example of where I have made the error in undervaluing the importance of being good at the basics. Who has time to read instructions, train for and practice something I need or want right now? Yet, missing this step seems to take away from the success of a job well done, makes it harder to replicate and may even result in some longer than necessary time to complete something. This applies to so many areas of my life, and probably yours too. We just want to get it done. We want to win though and come out on top with the least amount of frustration in getting it done.
So many things in our life seem to be a race to the finish line. We have to be the first or finish in the top to be recognized in our work. We don’t want to be seen as ridiculous because we can’t do something or need to look at the instructions. We’re supposed to be smart, capable people after all, we should know how to do things well! There is so much pressure to get to the finish line we forget the importance of learning the basics. We underestimate the work involved in repeating the basics over and over again until they are second nature so we can build on these skills to become experts in them. We often get frustrated, say it doesn’t work or is too much work and give up as a result. Many incredible goals and New Year’s Resolutions fall into this give up phase quickly after getting started on them, because we lack the basics to make them successful.
This year I am focusing on what it means to live naturally well. That theme underlines what I want to focus on in my health, work and relationships. I want to enrich all areas of my life and improve some things so I can reach some goals I have set. I know there’s going to be work to achieve those goals and sometimes it is going to be challenging to the point I want to give up. Yet, I also know I need to spend time learning and in some cases re-learning the basics which is also going to frustrate me. Last summer, when I started working with a virtual personal trainer I didn’t look forward to many of our sessions. The workouts seemed so basic. I should be able to do push-ups or lunges and yet I had to do a lot of those over and over again until I could do them well. I asked the trainer when these would be over and she smiled at me and said never. You never stop needing to do the basics and they are included in the more complex things we are trying to excel at.
The basics of living naturally is about obtaining knowledge that in turn opens the doors of inspirational and personalization of the experience. It gives us a path forward into the more complex topics and solutions to support our needs. What the basics look like in daily life is using things like essential oils, green cleaners and natural supplements to build a base of transitions in our life to more natural products. We learn what goes into a natural product to make it healthier and getting curious for more. It is realizing that just using a green cleaner, learning to make your own detergent and applying essential oils won’t make everything better long term. Without these pieces though we cannot understand what other changes we need to influence our health and well-being.
My favorite example is a friend of mine who started using Cinnamon essential oil every day to help with sugar cravings and promote weight loss. Cinnamon is known for its help with metabolic support and seemed an easy incorporation to get some results. What happened though is after just a couple weeks, my friend declared it wasn’t working! It was too hard to be consistent with it and she wasn’t losing any weight. She was frustrated with the basics of getting started on a weight loss journey to improve her health. The basics were not giving her results and she wanted to jump forward to get it well underway.
While Cinnamon essential oil can help, it alone won’t work without other changes we include in our life like dietary changes, exercising regularly, improving our sleep and other healthy changes. However, learning to use it regularly and consistently, letting it become part of our daily habit and understanding it’s role in supporting us and then building on that to include other healthy changes is where we start to see the basics from repetitive practice start to bring real results. We start to appreciate the momentum Cinnamon helped us get started and supports us in continuing to get to results. We get enough energy and help to get started in choosing more healthy options in our food choices and may even start some basic exercises. The point is we start with the basics that lead us to harder, more complex challenges that can lead to the results we’re looking for.
As we go into 2021 with New Year’s Resolutions of living healthier, improving an area of our life or exploring something new, I invite us to consider what that means in terms of learning and re-learning the basics. Let us appreciate the time well spent mastering these skills so when we go into more complex work towards our goals we can truly achieve our goals easier.
If you’re looking for support and tools to help you live naturally well this year, visit my website at dragonspitapothecary.com