Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Obstacles - just go!

I LOVE to run/walk/hike on the local nature trails. We've got a great park nearby that has several different trail options. Depending on the day, my mood, and the time I have available, I'll either do the 2.25 mile trail or the 4.2 mile trail.

I took the longer trail a couple days ago. The rainstorm the night before left everything beautifully damp and fragrant. Mushrooms were poking out from all over the place and with such variety I was distracted from the trail many times. I think I cleared the trail of EVERY single spider web that had been spun across the trail overnight. I had to stop and photograph the reptile eggs in the middle of the trail, as well as a little well-camouflaged frog that hopped out of my way, and an amazing white flower that looked like it belonged on the set of Avatar.

Plants and critters are welcome distractions from the trail, but due to the recent storms there was a lot of debris on the trail too - leaves, small branches, pine cones, piles of pine needles that had been washed into squishy puddles, etc. These are easy enough to maneuver around or over, but a couple times there were major BIG trees laying across the trail. I did what I always do - climbed over them. As I was climbing over one of these big ol' wet tree trunks it struck me how metaphorical the trail is. In our lives we encounter obstacles every day. Wouldn't it be great if we could simply climb over them and move along without emotional engagement with the obstacle? 

As I thought about obstacles on the trail some more it occurred to me that proceeding around/over/under tree trunks is effortless. You see it in the trail ahead of you and as you approach it becomes obvious where the path of least resistance is. It can be trickier. For instance, there was one spot on the trail that was completely blocked by a wall of leafy, thin branches (imagine the top bushy part of a small tree). This did not deter me. I dealt with the closest branches first holding them back with my hands and stepping on others as I passed through the leafy mess. I got a little wet with this one and imagined that I'd also picked up a few ticks, but otherwise I was able to go about my merry way in the space of just a few seconds.

Sometimes I walk with a friend, but we never consult each other on how to clear these obstacles. We just go. Whoever is in front leads the way and the other follows. We don't talk ugly about the obstacle. We don't have meetings before we try to clear the obstacle. We don't harbor ill will about the obstacle and we don't review our progress before, during, or after the obstacle.

I think I'll try viewing life's obstacles a little more like these trees that block my progress on the trail. Just go. Don't think too much about it and don't try to analyze it. The tree didn't intentionally block MY path. There's no reason to harbor any emotion whatsoever about the tree - it just is.

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