“the present little inch before you”

Welcome to Tuesdays with Chel.

“Watch your way then, as a cautious traveler; and don’t be gazing at that mountain or river in the distance, and saying, “How shall I ever get over them?”

Just keep to the present little inch that is before you.

The mountain and the river can only be passed in the same way; and, when you come to them, you will come to the light and strength that belong to them.”

– Mary Ann Kelty

The one thing I love about this quote is the suggestion to “just keep to the present little inch that is before you”.  As someone who struggles with anxiety, this is advice I need to remember. It seems simple, doesn’t it?

But it’s not.

Part of my resolution for 2013 was to be more mindful, more present in the moment. But it’s so much harder than it seems.

For every mindful breath I take, for every moment I become aware of the “right now”, there seems to be an infinite numbers of moments when I’m unknowingly caught up in the future or the past. Moments when I find myself full of ideas or inspiration, moments when I am stuck in the “could haves” and the “should haves”. Moments when I start stressing out because I’m not in the moment!

There’s so much of this that sometimes I just can’t grasp the idea of what a moment is. Instead of inhabiting my life as it comes, I get lost in moments that are gone or moments that haven’t arrived.

The idea of taking life by each “present little inch” sounds absolutely marvelous, like a blissful retreat from all the madness of an anxious, stressed-out mind.

But what is “the present little inch before me”?

“The present little inch that is before me” is this sentence, these string of words,
(…not this entire blog post).

“The present little inch that is before me” is getting through the next few minutes,
(…not figuring out the entire day).

“The present little inch that is before me”  is 7pm on Saturday evening,
(…not the entire weekend and all of next week plus the weekend after that).

“The present little inch that is before me” is looking around and seeing things exactly as they are and being okay with it,
(… not making to-do lists in my head of all the things that need change.)

“The present little inch that is before me” is this moment, right now.

This word, this single letter in the alphabet, this thought.

This breath, this inhale, this exhale.

This heartbeat, this tiny pulse of blood through my body.

“The present little inch that is before me” is inhabiting this slightly sleepy and achy body, sitting in this chair, clicking away at this computer keyboard, sipping at this mug of tea, and listening to my husband make dinner.

“The present little inch that is before me” is perfectly okay at this very moment.

And I am grateful for that.

“The present little inch that is before me” is a fresh resolve to embrace life moment by moment, “inch” by “inch”, and see what comes my way.

What is “the present little inch” that is before *you*? I’d really love to know.


Chel Micheline is a mixed-media artist, curator, writer, and avid gardener/reader/swimmer who lives in Southwest Florida with her husband and daughter. When Chel’s not making art or pondering the Bliss Habits, she’s blogging at gingerblue.com (come say hi!) or posting new things in the gingerblue etsy shop.

3 thoughts on ““the present little inch before you”

  1. Kathy says:

    The present little inch before me is the literally the last sip of my coffee and contemplation on what I will do next… it could be gathering laundry, returning an email, sending a tweet…. (although this could go to “making lists in my head”) I will be content to see what spills out before me… thank you Chel!!

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