What motivates us to hang on for dear life?

Last night, I went to bed thinking of the wind as I pondered Diane’s beautifully written post on the devastating effects of this force of nature.

And this morning, I awoke to the wind’s howling as it coursed through the trees; intent on taking with it, whatever lay in its path.

As Roxy and I entered the forest, I noticed how the majority of the trees were bare.

However, at the end of the path, I witnessed one lonely leaf, desperately clinging to a tree branch.

It had miraculously survived, and now danced proudly as the strong gusts whipped it left and right.

As I took in the scene before me, I wondered how the leaf was able to remain on the branch, valiantly clinging to life against all odds.

I also wondered if it wouldn’t it be easier to accept defeat and fall; to join the rest of the leaves that had already taken a nose dive.

And yet, it hung on.

It hung on the same way many of us hang on when it would be easier to let ourselves fall.

I realized many of us have much in common with this feisty and determined leaf.

At times, our lives take turns for the worse, our situation seems hopeless, and we come to doubt that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Other times, even though we’d never do it, we wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to jump; to stop fighting; to give in.

Yet we know this is not an option; that this would be the coward’s way out.

We recognize that while pain is devastating, it also serves to remind us that we’re still alive; that we still have the ability to fight.

And so, we courageously find the inner strength to keep going.

Because we realize, that most of the time, help is not on the way.

We face the reality that we stand alone.

An army of one; depending only on ourselves.

It is this realization that prompts us to take action; to do the best we can, with the resources that we have.

Do we believe we have the chance to conquer as we battle the odds?

Most of the time, we can only pray and hope that we do.

Yet this shouldn’t prevent us from trying our damnedest; from trying to survive come what may.

As Roxy and I struggle to walk against the wind’s strong currents, I realize that we are one with the leaf.

And like the leaf, we should hold on even when the wind threatens to knock us down.

What motivates you to hang on?

Today, I’m linking up with Heidi’s Black and White Wednesday.

Black and White Wednesday


59 thoughts on “What motivates us to hang on for dear life?

  1. I’m not sure if there’s anything in particular that motivates me to hang on. I just do. One step at the time. Or one sentence at the time, if I’m writing. And there’s also that wisdom: “It, too, shall pass.” And then, step by step, I get somewhere. Or stay where I already was, except that the wind is no longer blowing. Not much of a recipe, but I don’t have any better.

    P.S. If you don’t know about Fenton the dog, check out my latest post, you might like it. :)

    1. Ivana, the old saying, “This too shall pass,” is something my nana said all the time. Indeed, nothing last forever; not the good nor the bad. With that in mind, I cling on to the good times, as well as hang on so as to get through the bad times. I’m on my way to visit your post about Fenton! :)

  2. Beautiful photos and thought provoking questions. I struggle on those days when I feel all alone in the word, as you say, depending only on myself. But even though we all stand on our own, we can walk side by side with others. That’s what helps me. I have my friends and family and I have Lola. They never seem to mind if I lean on them a little.

    1. Shary, thank goodness for family and our furry companions! And what a fine companion you have by your side! I’m grateful that believing yourself to be an army of one is what prompts me to keep going. Life has taught me that at times, embracing that there is no back up, is what keeps me alive. :)

  3. I love that leaf… I am that leaf. What makes me hang on is my belief – my knowing – that the wind dies down after awhile; that the storm’s raging mellows. That they will return, eventually, is immaterial; they serve their purpose. xo

    1. Hot Coco, and isn’t there wisdom and strength in knowledge? Amen, sister! And of course you’re right–even after the stormiest of nights, the calm eventually returns. :)

  4. Don’t Jump Roxy!! I’d be lost without you. By the way, your comment about best friends on The Ole Master Plan got me to thinking. For two years, I lived four states away from my best friend, but we still kept in touch with instant messaging and phone calls. Though face time is a fabulous thing, during those years, we saw each other rarely and still remained best pals. You may not have a BFF next door, but you are blessed with a HOST of girlfriends just a click away, myself included. Hugs!!

    1. Aw, Lori, you are the sweetest! Thank you, friend. I was hanging to Roxy tight as I took this photo. What a nightmare to see her peer over at the ducks in the water but I do like her to explore and exercise her curiosity. As I wrote this post I thought it would be perfect for the “jumping in” part. I’m honored to have wonderful people like you in my life, lady! Hugs! :)

  5. As always, Bella, this is beautiful and thought provoking :)

    There are a lot of things that help me to hang in there when I’m on my last thread. One of them is my sweet husband. What could I do without him? I find that more and more often, my faith has helped me to hang on in difficult situations. I often save notes that I’ve recieved over the years, especially from my parents. Those help me so much in difficult times.

    1. Rachel, are you a collector as well? I’ve saved every note, letter, and card my children have ever given me. They fill a large box that goes with me whenever I move. I too find comfort in reading and glancing through these when the going gets rough. I find they serve to remind me how far we’ve come and how love has held us together. Your sweet husband seems like a life saver. Hang on to him as you hang on! :)

    2. I am a collector! I used to save everything (when I started High School I had ever spelling test I had ever taken.) I’ve worked hard to tone it back to the things that are truly important to me.

    3. Rachel, Rachel, I knew it! The Significant Other is a collector as well. Unfortunately, he hasn’t acquired your wisdom of toning it down to only the meaningful things. As a result, I end throwing half his stuff away! hee hee! :)

  6. Bella, you do so have a way with connecting ideas from what you see, to what happens in a human life. It is all connected isn’t it? And now, whenever I am feeling like this (like now!) I will think of that leaf, hanging on.

    I guess it is mostly human nature? The survival instinct? Not sure. And of course hope and a belief things will be better.

    Wonderful post.

    1. Michael Ann, your words bring pep to my step! Thank you for your kind words. Is it the survival instinct? I want to say yes. Self preservation motivates us to do what we have to do to, come what may. At times, like you mention, it’s the hope that things will get better, but I’ll be honest when I say, this is not something I do often. I live in the here and the now and if things are rough, then something forces me to step it up a notch. Nevertheless, when the storm settles, I allow the idealist in me to come out and say, I knew things would change for the better. :)

    1. Patrice, it makes me happy to read your words. You know, I remember the day we went to get Roxy at the farm where she was born. I never thought this tiny ten pound ball of fur would bring so much joy to my life. She’s my constant companion, my partner in crime, and dare I say, the only one who loves me unconditionally? :)

    2. Roxy is doing good work for sure. Can’t top that kind of love, it sort of ruins us for anyone else:0! But that’s OK. It helps us hold on, as you say so well.

    3. Patrice, too right! Roxy had indeed ruined me for anyone else! No one can top this puppy dog’s love for me! I’m her hero and that makes a woman feel great! hee hee! :)

  7. Firstly, the photos are lovely. And that picture with the leaf is just BEAUTIFUL. I hang on despite the odds for a lot of reasons, my husband being the most important, but also for my own happiness and personality. I’m a NEVER GIVE UP person, sometimes it gets silly.

    1. Laura, the way I see it, perseverance and tenacity are virtues. Your husband is lucky to have you, lady! And I’m tickled pink that you like the photos! :)

  8. I always look forward to your black and white Wednesdays. You have an amazing gift. You take pictures beautifully and Roxy always looks so sweet in your photos. These photos look like a visual poem, so dramatic and so artistic.

    Sometimes, I must admit, I feel like that little leaf blowing in the wind and so desperately trying to hold on. Bella, you’ve captured what each of us has felt at one time or another. Thank you for such an exquisite post!

    1. Aw, Monica, I’m blushing from so much praise! Muchas gracias, amiga. Your kind words make me feel like I’m walking on sunshine! Roxy’s beaming too! I will admit that I am that leaf day in and day out. Nevertheless, you know what they say, what doesn’t kill you…Maybe that’s why I feel like bad ass Nikita on any given day! hee hee! I’m thrilled that you feel I’m captured the feeling. It’s what I was striving to do. Thanks, sister! :)

  9. First of all, I love that photo of the brightly colored leaf among the black/white background. Secondly, your question comes at a good time. Lately I’ve been struggling trying to keep up with so many moving parts in my life. I think what keeps me hanging on is knowing it may be crazy, but I’m creating the life I want for myself in the future. And just seeing my daughter motivates me and keeps me hanging on.

    1. Leah, children are excellent motivators, aren’t they? After all, what wouldn’t we do for them? When I look back at my life, the one thing I’m proudest would be that even through the toughest of times, my children have never been burdened with my worries. I have held on to those all by myself. I’ve refused to rob them of their childhood by turning them into premature worry warts. They’ll have enough of that when they’re my age. Nevertheless, I have brought them up with the notion that yes, life is pain, but that’s not always the case. There are days when it rains, but just as many days when the sun shines. Good for you for organizing your life and hanging on. Something tells me you will achieve the life you yearn for with little Sophie by your side! :)

    1. Alphi, hello and welcome! I love that you read my blog! It’s okay that you don’t comment every time. But I love it when you do! :)

  10. Bellissima! And great photo of that single leaf! My goodness, it looks so vulnerable. It is really hanging on for dear life. Ah, such a familiar feeling…

    1. Jann, I sigh as I think it’s a familiar feeling more times than we want it to be. Yet it doesn’t matter, because we’re warriors, you and I. Onward we march, sorella! Thank you for your kind words. Any praise from you regarding my photos makes my heart sing! :)

    1. Sulekha, you always know exactly what to say! Your words are like a soothing balm, lady. And thank goodness the less than happy times pass! We’ll continue to hang on and smile and laugh even when it feels that our fingers are slipping! Hang on tight, lady! :)

  11. it depends on that particular moment… Our lives sometimes reflect that beautiful leaf… There is always a hidden force within us that nudged or encourages to go that extra distance…
    A great post!

    1. Savira, I’m honored you like the post! Thank you! Yes, our lives do at times reflect this leaf. Other times we’re down in the pile or up on the tree. Isn’t it funny how life has a way of shifting constantly? I guess that’s why we shouldn’t take the bad times to heart. :)

  12. You know what? Just outside my window, there’s a hazelnut tree with just one single green leaf left, too. And the other day I was thinking exactly the same when I wondered why this one particular leaf had survived while all the others had fallen to the ground.

    I think it always depends on what kind of “battle” we’re talking about. Sometimes you already know that you’ve lost but maybe you don’t want to give up because giving up would mean to take your very last chance away from yourself. And with other battles we might not know we’ll lose in the end, we just keep going because we believe everything will turn out fine.

    There’s a proverb that goes “when you realise the horse you are riding is dead, get off”. I rarely do that, but I think sometimes it would be better to end a “battle” early and with less grief than fighting right till the end.

    1. Sabrina, if only we had the wisdom to know which battles aren’t worth fighting for! But alas, most of the time we don’t and so we struggle to win, or at the very least, give it all we’ve got. Thank you for your comment, which has served to enhance and add to this blog post! And there are no coincidences–there’s a reason why you and I have witnessed solitary leaves hanging on for their lives! :)

  13. Once more, you’ve inspired me! Persevere! Hang on! Endure! Persist! Carry on! Continue! As long as there’s breath in one’s body, we can do this! And living is worth it!
    Thank you!
    And thank you for your kind mention! You’re a doll!

    1. Diane, thank YOU for giving me food for thought with your wind post. It managed to trigger old survival memories. Imagine how, upon witnessing the sole leaf on that tree branch, it all seemed to come together! You’ve captured this post’s message loud and clear–“persevere, hang on, endure, carry on, and continue!: My sentiments exactly! :)

  14. HI Bella, I”m so glad we found each other through this huge blogosphere! You are a beautiful writer! I just loved your analogy of the leaf. And your little Roxy is adorable. I hang on because I love life. My hobbies, my home, my family! We can’t just “survive” in this life – we have to love it, enjoy it, do things that make us happy!
    Talk to you soon!

    1. Nina, hello and welcome! Your lovely comment made me smile! Roxy’s thrilled at your compliment. And I must agree with you–life is more than just surviving. If we don’t aim to truly live, then really, it defeats the purpose. Looking forward to dropping by your blog again! :)

  15. At most times it would be easier to give in, to jump so to speak. I’m motivated by my love for my family & friends, and for all of the experiences I have each and every single day. Simply waking up and taking that first breath when I open my eyes is enough for me to be grateful for every single minute. Excellent post, Bella.

    1. Kirstin Marie, you know, it’s funny you mention your moment of gratitude as you wake up because it reminds me of something I was taught when I was around five years old. My nana told me that the minute you open your eyes, you have to thank God for the new day, and right before you go to bed, you do the same but thank Him for a day well spent. I read your comment and was immediately transported to that time! Thank you! I’m thrilled you liked the post! :)

  16. Wow, I love this!!! *singing* Awwwweeeesoooommmmeeee… :)

    What motivates me? For writing, painting and photography…definitely two things: My physical pain and Jesus. Sounds weird, I know, but what I don’t know is how someone can live with one without the other. I guess because I’ve lived with both for so long, my pain brings me closer to God, and God brings me closer to what I’m truly capable of.

    1. And your words are just inspiring to read! I’m delighted you’ve dropped by my blog! Without a doubt, believers tend to seek God when we’re in pain. I for one know I pray during these times and this in itself gives me comfort. :)

  17. Beautiful blog Bella, I loved the photos of your dog. What a magnificent canine! I wrote a poem about a similar feeling but in the mess that is my house since my new puppy arrived. Artie with a heart murmur, I lost it. This is typical of me. I will try to find it and share it with you. I have agoraphobia which makes it a Herculean effort to walk my dogs. I do it because my love for them is more powerful than my fear of going out. I am honored to be your blog pal Aloha Marilyn Maya

    1. Marilyn, hello and welcome! Aw, I can’t wait to meet Artie! I hope that you will find the poem. I would love to read it! Isn’t it wonderful how the love for our furry friends assists us in making life changes, even when at times it is indeed a Herculean effort? You have nothing but my admiration, lady. Come back and visit, please! :)

    1. Cathy, I have missed you! I’m so glad to read your comment! May life continue to be the force that prompts you to hang in there! :)

  18. Bella, I just left one reason to hang on in California (my dear, dear sister) and flew home to four reasons to keep on truckin’ (my amazing husband and my three darlings). Family is my raison d’etre. Thank you for linking up, my sweet friend.

    1. Heidi, I’m sorry you had to say bye to your sister! Fortunately, you have four wonderful reasons to come home to! Indeed, family tops most things! Thanks for having me on Black and White Wednesday,sister! :)

  19. I’m blessed with a very strong Faith, Bella, and that helps me hang on. Through all the ups and downs of life (and there have been many!), it’s Faith that has sustained me. Faith and Hope, for as the Irish proverb states, “Hope is the physician of each misery.”

    1. Debbie, your comment sums up what really keeps me going–faith and hope. If you don’t have both of those, I’m afraid you don’t have much of anything. I was brought up to believe that faith is capable of moving mountains. As a result, even in the darkest of times, I still cling to hope and faith. I love that proverb! Consider it inserted into my notebook of special sayings! :)

  20. Bella,

    Ah my friend, what a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes. What motivates me to press on even when the wind wants to knock us down?

    Faith. Faith that God has a plan for me that I cannot see, if only momentarily. Faith that this too, like all things, shall pass. Rainbows which come out after the storm. The comfort of my friends and my internal belief that God gives you nothing you cannot handle. I often hear Scarlet O’Hara in my head, “Tomorrow is another day”. Yes and that’s funny but the scene from Gone With The Wind has a message for us all. Trials will come, it is in the triumph of adversity that the spirit is refined. I am often reminded that whatever I experience, there is someone else on this earth going through far worse. Victory awaits for those who have the strength to claim it. So, if I get knocked out of me, I lay down for a little while but always get back up ;).

    And still I rise…. http://poemhunter.com/poem/still-i-rise/



    1. Coco, you have no idea how inspiring your words are to me! I believe, dear lady, that you have just enhanced this post admirably and for that, I thank you! You know, I just love when I read my readers’ comments and see how much insight they can provide! I think this is why they say writing is therapeutic because it has the power to throw out questions you need answers to but also receive the very answers you seek. Like you, I fight tooth and nail to get back up. There’s no other option, friend. We shall not perish while there is still breath in our bodies! Roar! :)

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