Walking through life’s forest

January 20, 2010 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

Lately I’ve taken to regular walks in the woods. There’s a convenient little mountain behind my apartment building, and since I realized I actually like hiking, I bought some hiking boots (on sale, of course!) and immensely enjoy the fresh air, quiet and exercise.

Yesterday afternoon was sunny and I had time, so I set out for a short hike, as I had stuff to do. At one of the forks, two people stepped onto the path in front of me — about 10 yards. They walked at the same pace, and I didn’t feel like having them in front of me the whole time. So when it came time to switch onto the shorter route and they turned, I opted to take the longer path after all.

The change over the past couple of days got me thinking that the path is like life. Often I find myself on the same path, but it’s different every time. Last week it had snowed a bit. The forest was covered with a fresh blanket of pure white snow. On the forest path, the snow crunched under my shoes. It was exhilarating and I felt pure happiness.

A couple of days later, the path was well trodden. I needed to walk in the middle, as the path was somewhat icy to the left and right. At one point, there was a pile of cut pine trees blocking the path. I wondered if I’d taken the wrong turn, circled back, found nothing, and continued forward. The second time around, I saw footprints in the snow. Following them, I returned to the path.

Yesterday it was again different. There were patches of dry dirt road, with icy patches in between (the shady spots). The pile of trees was gone, the way was clear. I needed to pay attention during the icy parts, but when it was dry, my attention wandered to other details. Thus I am getting the know the forest better each time I go.

Meanwhile my thoughts wandered to my apartment. When I first moved in, I was so excited and enthusiastic. I cleaned every nook and cranny — and enjoyed the process. The other day, I spent the whole day cleaning. A couple of hours to get motivated, and then coffee and phone call breaks in between. I just wasn’t in the mood, but wanted to get it done while I had the time. Things at work will get busier in the next couple of weeks, so now was a good time.

And I thought to myself: I can do the same thing a hundred times, walk the same path a thousand times, but each time it is different. The weather, my mood, the planetary constellation, the season, and other factors play a role in the experience.

It is up to me to be mindful and aware, to experience the difference, to go through the motions but remain open to the fact that it’s not always the same. That keeps me grounded, centered, and in the moment. My life is happening right now. Each day and moment are unique — no matter how many times I’ve been here before!

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Entry filed under: free time. Tags: , , , , , , .

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