As I begin walking The Path on this fine sunshiny day I can feel something stuck to the bottom of my shoe. A lump, an irritation. I scrape my shoe along the ground but it doesn't shift. It's not until several attempts later that I realise the lump is on the inside of my shoe so no amount of kicking and scraping is going to get rid of the irritation. What a metaphor!
I feel lost. I haven't walked for a week or so. Although I can cite lots of valid reasons, the truth is there has been resistance to it. Since walking the path is the basis of my blog, my book, my passion, my life, I feel a little ashamed that I have not been walking my talk! Feels strange since it is normally such a joy. Yet, in the time I haven't walked I have felt despair, flatness, and a general lack of passion. I can't help but wonder if the two are connected. I am curious as to what that in-between time is all about. If walking the path is what keeps me grounded and feeling connected what stops me choosing what I know is in my best interests?
As I walk I realise knowing what the resistance is isn't as important as recognising how valuable the in-between time has been, despite the struggle. I didn't try to escape the flatness and depression. I leaned into it. As paradoxical as it may sound, there is such abundance in that still, lifeless, passionless existence when I just allow myself to be in it. Although it is not easy it is a relief to let go and just allow the emptiness, the stillness, the quietness. Almost heaven. The truth is, I am happy in that place of surrender until I start to worry about what others will think of me. Most likely I will be perceived as miserable or perhaps lazy. It's only then, when I resist it, that it becomes a problem. The guilt and shame almost too much to bear.
Now I am back out walking again I can feel the beauty of having stayed with it, the difficulty, the shame, the badness. Only now can I appreciate how much I have shifted. Having felt stuck for what felt like an eternity (even if it was only ten days!) there is such a sense of relief. To be out here, moving again. Filling up my depressed lungs with fresh air. Coming back to life. Feeling free. Just me, my camera, and my words. Natur-ally!
A little cuckoo
I've been feeling a little crazy over the past few days and today on The Path, halfway down the hill, I plonk myself down on the verge and consciously sit with it. I notice anxiety around stopping. A general fear that I don't have enough time to stop and that if I do I won't get "it all" done. A sure sign that I really need to stop!
Just stopping right where I am feels really good - butt perched in the grass (even with a white skirt on) and bare feet on the dusty path. Taking a moment to bask in the warmth of the sun. I can breathe. I am aware of the sounds around me. In the distance I hear what sounds like cuckoo, cuckoo. Yep, that just about sums it up! I giggle to myself.
First I hear one bird high up on the hill, then I hear another down below. It's like nature in stereo, only they are noticeably out of sync. As the second bird tries to verbally catch up with the first (or so it seems) I am aware of a familiar ache in my heart, just willing it to find resonance with the other. To come together and sing as one. They're getting closer. Its almost there. Surely this time…but no, it doesn't happen and I feel such a sense of grief that they never quite meet.
Of course, this isn't really about the birds at all. The outer world is simply a reflection of our inner world. It's about me...and contact, and longing, and separation, and grief.
A good time to stop and take care of myself after all :-)))
Being a Joyrider
Even though we are cruising toward the month of June the cold and challenging winter moments seem to be outlasting the warm and easy summer moments and I find myself questioning whether walking The Path is worth it at all. Sometimes, it simply appears to invite trouble.
Weighing up the rewards, it seems even on the "spiritual" path the ultimate question is What's in it for me? Does that make me selfish, I wonder? And yet, why we would we do anything, even sacrifice ourselves, unless at some level we felt better for it?
Choosing to take the easier route past, rather than through, the dark wood I sense now is not the time for plumbing the depths. All that anal-ysing and knowledge-seeking of the past was a wonderful gift at the time but right now I sense the joy of Being, without question.
Trudging up the hill there is a hint of nausea and a sense of drive, drive, drive. Just stop, I tell myself. I can't just stop here. I'm in the middle of the path and it's starting to rain, I protest. Life feels a little like this at the moment. Maybe I could stop later, but what good could possibly come of stoping now? Noticing the resistance I do stop. An ache all around my lower back becomes evident, an area that is said to represent fears around money and financial security. Hmmm…it seems there is a sense of financial insecurity currently driving many of us. I wonder what it is like to not be driven by our financial situation but to be driven by joy instead? And in this case, by driven I mean chauffeured. Sitting in the back seat, feet up, taking in the view, letting joy be the driver.
Over the years I realise I've had some pretty odd-sounding personal ambitions...I want to be a Radiator (someone who radiates love), I want to be an Air-head (someone with a clear mind), and right now I am adding Joyrider to the list!
Happy cruising x
Shaking like a leaf
Feel like I'm in a complete spin on The Path today. Just like these flowers (which happen to be jittering frantically in the breeze) I am shaking like a leaf. Even though my legs are tired I'm hoping just by walking everything will magically be okay by the time I finish, as is often the case, but right now I cannot feel the magic. My mind is far too busy and even though I am aware of it I can't seem to stop it.
Funny that we are now into the new financial year because the word that comes to mind is over-taxed. One definition of tax is make heavy demands on someone's powers or resources. Yes, that feels about right today.
As I look at the dark clouds on the horizon I notice a sense of betrayal. I swear the guy on the radio said we were at the start of two-week heatwave! Was he taking the p*ss? I don't usually listen to the weather forecast because it is so often sends me in the wrong direction. Confuses me. I prefer to look out of the window and see what is happening for myself but for some reason I bought into what the radio guy said. As spots of rain fall I feel foolish. Why did I listen to him? Trust his judgment over my own?
Since time is short and I am having to squeeze in this walk (supposedly for the joy of it!) I take the shortcut home down the middle of the field. The ground is uneven and barely visible beneath the long grass and so one foot has to walk on a higher part of the path than the other. Call yourself a path! I catch myself muttering. As miserable as I appear to be at this point, I have to laugh at myself.
Having to take the higher and the lower path simultaneously reminds me of what it is like being human and recognising our Divinity at the same time. It can take a bit of practice and can often leave us walking with a limp :-)
Realising I am not likely to make myself happy today I surrender to the intensity of the day…and, paradoxically enough, begin to relax. I notice that despite the very real challenges of life it is I that am ultimately taxing myself. What a strange thing to do!
It's not the mountain that exhausts you but the grit in your shoe (source unknown)
Tangled and beautiful
There are very few words or thoughts on The Path today, just a subtleness. A surrender. An all-inclusiveness. Noticing the busy bees collecting pollen and the slow inching along of the dark, slimy slug there is a feeling of everything going at its own pace. As for me, I am happy somewhere between the two. Daring to lean back a little into the flow. Letting myself be carried. Noticing what a tangled, and beautiful, web we weave xx
How is your pace feeling today?
I don't care
Before I started The Path today I was feeling buoyant. Care-free. That was, until I came across a couple of mistakes I'd made with regard to something that was important to me. Something that I care about. Something that is too late to undo. One error was use of the word er instead of her, twice!
As I walk along I reassure myself of the old adage: To err is human...but to err twice is just plain careless I catch myself adding, with contempt. The shame I feel is consuming.
There is sh*t on the path today. One dollop then another, though it is pretty hidden amidst the foliage. You'd have to be looking for it to see it. Just like my mistakes. I went looking for them for no apparent reason and ended up bursting my own bubble of joy. What was the point of that! I chastise myself. Well, I know the answer to that one in a heartbeat. Whether we can see it or not, the single point is always Love. So how does that translate in this case I wonder?
I notice that although little things (like a mistake) can make a big difference it is not necessarily the "mistake" itself that is the problem but the energy invested in worrying about about it. The tendency to blow it out of proportion. For self-recrimination. To irrationalise. There certainly is an art to not over-investing. Not caring.
Perhaps the lesson here is our freedom to choose. To keep breathing and walking through the discomfort of our perceived errors. Perhaps even, trusting that they are not really errors at all but some kind of divine opportunity. These particular '"errors" have helped me understand myself a little deeper, release more sh*t. Allowed me to see caring is not always a good thing. Simply an investment. Showing me not only where love is but where it is lacking within.
And so, with a deep breath and a big smile of relief I continue on my way, once again choosing to be carefree.
I am pretty overwhelmed as I begin the walk today. Still feeling the pressure of deadlines, duties and responsibilities I notice I am absent-mindedly pacing up the hill. I am writing a book and in this moment it is feeling just too big to pull together. I really want to complete it. But I'm tired. So why, I wonder to myself, am I marching myself up the hill right now? Slow down, I reassure myself, gently.
As I do lessen the pace, I notice the abundance of nettles along The Path. Yup! I am certainly stinging a little today. Feeling sore. Then I notice the dock leaves, the antidote to nettle stings, that nature always cannily places nearby. It makes me think about the solution always being within the problem.
It's ironic - my book is about the wisdom of walking in nature and here I am marching along stressing to get it finished. Realising my book is the problem and the antidote I decide to take some of my own medicine and surrender to the beauty of the walk. Already I feel much calmer. What a re-leaf!
What do you do to get yourself back in the flow?
Paradox, bastard, and fly!
So here I am, unexpectedly on The Path today, making the most of the glorious warmth of the sun despite having a shed-load of duties and deadlines on my to-do list. Sneaking a cheeky walk, so to speak. With no intention of recording anything for blogging purposes and unable to locate my camera I really am walking light. In this moment I Am Freee!
Suddenly, thoughts start to assemble and clarify in my head like clockwork and the word PARADOX springs to mind. Hmmmm… You know, that sense of everything and nothing all at once. When everything matters and yet nothing really matters, when life is not ok but deep down you just know it is, when you feel like death and yet you've never felt so alive. These moments of paradox, I have learned, are when I am at my most connected, at my serenest, aligned and balanced. In Love with Whatever is.
Bastard! I mutter to myself. Typical! All this wondrous stuff comes up when I am least prepared for it. As I laugh at myself I realise I am angry and peaceful all at the same time. More paradox. Still connected, then.
A fly lands on my chest. In my more mindful moments, rather than automatically batting away what is not wanted, I have become accustomed to letting things be. So, the fly and I travel on together for a while. I notice it is not an ordinary fly. It's wings are tall and elegant. Feeling lighter than ever I literally lean my ear in towards it just in case it has a message for me. Oh, of course. Doh! It's message is simple: fly!
I notice I am merrily chanting as I walk along. Paradox, bastard, fly! Paradox, bastard, fly! Paradox, bastard, fly! It seems a blog wants to be written after all. Although with no camera I will have to dig out an old fly picture (you should see my back catalogue! Lol). Nevertheless, all seems to be falling into place effortlessly. In fact, since my 75-year old uncle and I are going out to lunch, just the two of us for the first time, on Monday (the time I usually set aside to blog) this really is divine timing after all. Funny how choosing not to focus on the to-do list and instead do what is most joyful and effortless in the moment has resulted in stuff being ticked off the list anyway. Once again, the elegant Truth of Paradox!
(Ok, so you have to squint to see the fly in this particular picture but I figured you really didn't need to see shot of the vibrant green bluebottles and what they were feasting on!) :-)
It really is a beautiful day on The Path today. Pure blue skies and the brightest sunshine and yet it has taken me half of the journey to look up and smell the roses, so to speak. One could say I have been preoccupied and consumed by my own thoughts. Or more specifically, niggling doubts and fears. Do I follow the "expert" advice of others or do I listen to my own inner guidance? I prefer to do the latter but does that make me arrogant, or foolish perhaps?
The whole point of The Path is to let go of thinking and to clear the mind. This alone is enough to deeply reconnect us with our inherent health and wholeness. However, it is natural to take in our surroundings as we walk through life (if only to prevent ourselves from tripping over) but with a little gentle awareness it can also be incredibly enlightening. Although deep wisdom is available to us wherever we may be I notice the quieter and calmer the surroundings the more we are able to hear what it is our inner voice wants us to know. Hence, the beauty of walking in nature. And so, along with the added benefits of fresh air and exercise, The Path came into being.
At the point of looking up, I see someone approaching on the path ahead and step aside to let them pass. Suddenly, I find myself entangled in a bush of thorns. I have to smile as I carefully unhook myself in several places. So this is the wisdom of the path today. A message to unhook myself from the drama in my head. Now free to carry on my merry way I realise my question has been answered. Nice one!
What is standing out for you today? A colour, a song, a smell, a fallen tree, the trash? Whatever it is, know that it is a reflection of what is going on deep inside. A metaphor. A personal in-sight. Information that is not always accessible through the rational mind alone. We cannot get it wrong. We cannot misinterpret the signs. It matters not what meaning an "expert" might assign as much as what it means to us. When we notice and acknowledge our deepest feelings, whether they be painful, joyful, or somewhere in-between, we are reconnecting with our own down-to-earth wisdom.
In what ways are you un-earthing the wisdom of your own path today ?
Wooo, hooo! The winds are a-whippin' up on The Path today. I am reminded of the song Tsunami by DVBBS and Borgeous feat. Tinie Tempah. "Stuck in a daze I feel like I'm riding a wave. My life is a roller coaster inside of a maze. (Woo!) I hope it's a phase, I hope it's a, hope it's a phase…" It has a strong drum beat...and here we are in March. Marching on!
Somehow, amongst all the chaos, I am aware of the stillness within the movement. The joy, the beauty, the perfection within the chaos. When we are able access even the tiniest hint of stillness and perfection at our core it doesn't matter how chaotic it is outside. However wild and consuming it may be. We can enjoy the thrill of the movement. We can afford to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Feeling the excitement, I wonder how I can capture the movement of the wind in a picture. Since wind feels like spirit-in-action there is a sense I am trying to capture the un-capturable :-) I can capture the physical effect of the wind on the physical world, the collapsed tree perhaps? But no, that's far too flat for a day like today. Instead, I go with what brings a smile to my face on this fine and windy day. This tree, wearing his Sunday best!
Lots of joy to you all on your own path today…and why not wear our Sunday best everyday! :-))
Trained in a depth, buddhist-based psychotherapy, using everyday outer world experiences to develop inner wisdom, one day at a time.