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LIFE WITH CYNTHIA: Trying to do versus trying to achieve

Like riding a bike, 'the trying is in how far they went, not in the moment of actual riding,' columnist says
Words from the wise Yoda.

We all say the same thing. “Where does the time go?” In passing, we shake our head and ponder this question and then move on not really answering it, nor do we care. Honestly, we just ask it because we truly cannot answer “where” it goes, as it passes; it does not go.

I was brought to my knees this week, both to ponder with the great energy and as I was shocked to realize something. I was gobsmacked, as I happened to turn on Jeopardy!, which I don’t watch as a rule. They were celebrating the current winner on his 38th day. Then they announced he was second to the all-time champ, Ken Jennings, whose 75-game winning streak was 17 years ago. This new champ was trying to reach that record.

I stopped. What? Seventeen years? I hit up Google thinking they had made a mistake. That was before I went to university, before Bella Coola, before I left Midland, before, before, before! I cannot believe it. Truly, it feels surreal that his appearance on that show was so long ago. I can't grasp it. I still think it is a mistake because I cannot even do the “where were you when” to remember where I was when I was tuning in to that winning streak.

I saw a posting on social media today that speaks to another of our enigmas of life. It said, “Do or do not. There is no such thing as try.” Ponder that one. The act of “trying” presumes a measurement toward which one is reaching. Therefore, one is not “trying” to “do.” They are “trying to achieve.” That makes a world of difference. Let me see if I can explain.

A child brings home a report card with grades of Bs and Cs. The parent assumes they are not “trying.” The assumption is if they “tried,” they would have As.

Someone is learning to ride a bicycle and they go a short distance and then put their feet down. The assumption is one must go more than a short distance to actually be riding a bike. The trying is in how far they went, not in the moment of actual riding.

So many people “try” to quit smoking. Only while they are holding, puffing and engaging are they smoking. The rest of the time, they are not smoking, so either they are smoking or they are not. There is no trying about it. The trying is in the measure of willpower to “not” smoke.

Trying gives us the excuse to quit. “I tried.”

With the August challenge upon me, part of it is the challenge of my aging process. As I run, hike, cycle, swim and walk, it appears I am “trying” to fend off old age. I am not. I am remaining active, keeping my body moving and challenging myself to “do,” not to “try.” As I write this, I am in the planning stages of two events — IronGirl and Ragnar, two races that I will complete this week. I will have fun with and perform to the best of my ability. Since I let go of reaching the podium, or placing to get special acknowledgement, the “try” aspect is no longer important. In this instance, “trying” is only measured whether I reach the goal of first, second or third standing.

Some of you may be shaking your head as you read, “trying” to understand what I am getting at. The “trying” in this instance is measuring whether you can be where I am in my thoughts. If you read these words and take some learning, then there is no “trying” involved. You simply did what you needed to do. Read and learn something.

In our faith stories, we have been taught to “try” to measure up to what we think the great energy wants of us. Like the lost 17 years since Ken Jennings lived for 75 games on Jeopardy!, what does it matter? The time has passed and in our fleeting moments we may remember pieces and parts. However, we will not remember if we tried and perceivably failed or if we tried and found success. The key is we lived those 17 years and they are now committed to our memory, no matter what the outcomes.

The great energy wants us to be alive, doing and being everything we can be. So, stop “trying.” There is no try. Let go of measuring and trying, and simply live.

“Do or do not. There is no try.” — Yoda

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Cynthia Breadner is a teacher, author, grief specialist and bereavement counsellor, a soul-care worker and offers specialized care in spiritually integrated therapies. She works as a long-term care chaplain assisting with end-of-life care for client and family.  She is the mother part of the #DanCynAdventures duo and practises fitness, health and wellness. She is available remotely by safe and secure video connections. If you have any questions contact her today:

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Cynthia Breadner

About the Author: Cynthia Breadner

Writer Cynthia Breadner is a grief specialist and bereavement counsellor, a soul care worker providing one-on-one support at
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