Going with the flow is not something that has ever come naturally to me. I tend to make a mountain out of every bump in the road. It reminds me of when I was a little girl. We lived beside my grandmother’s field. Many times, we headed across the field to visit her, or sometimes we would cross the field to the woods either to explore or in winter to go sledding. The walk there was never long. I had my eye on the ball, so to speak. It was coming effortlessly toward me.
Yet every time I headed home, it seemed the distance had grown. Somehow I didn’t ever feel that my legs could carry me that far. The heat of summer seemed oppressive and unbearable. If it was winter, the snow seemed higher than my legs could step over. Defeat held me captive. Through tears and with the force of the inevitable, I forced myself to continue on.
Looking back, this could truly describe how I have made my way through life. Everything has been an effort. Each event seemed to hold too much unknown; too much self-doubt. In the present, I can see how it affects my day to day. I keep a grip on the known, things I have conquered and mastered, and feel my little girl tired legs and the fear of failure that accompanied them each time a new experience looms ahead, like a mountain I will surely not be able to climb.
I find myself in admiration of the people that seek out challenges in their lives. People that can get in their car and drive to cities they have never driven to, to places they have not visited before, as if they were just brushing their teeth for the thirty thousandth time of their life. My husband always seems that way. He can see a new experience and be the first to raise his hand, eager to step out of his box and head into the unknown. Me, I like to wait, plan and prepare. I guess in a way, this makes us a good match. He’s ready to jump in, and I am always standing there with the life preserver when or if he finds the water was a bit rougher than he had anticipated.
Even so, I find that I make myself a bit tired. Tired of the worry that I carry like an anchor in my back pocket. The “what if?” that rules my life. It is a handicap that keeps me in this “safe” and boring place in my life. Knowing I will get up and have coffee and head off to a job that I know (and am thoroughly bored by) and coming home to my house and all that occupy it are securities that I think most people take for granted, but I truly appreciate and feel blessed by these things. After a while, though, I realize I need to step out into the world, maybe switch things up a bit, because without challenge or new experiences, it all gets a bit dull. And besides, when you stand in the same spot for too long, the terrain around you changes. Then suddenly, you find yourself in a world, once known and cherished, now different and uncomfortable. Yet even that discomfort can be a known comfort and trying to leave it, to adjust myself to it, the knot in my stomach grows.
All the hesitation and trepidation in life has taken its toll on my body. It’s like I have been swimming upstream in an effort to stay in the known. Yet no matter how many times I conquer the unknown, throw the anchor from my pocket, and let the water take me, and say to myself, “See, what were you worried for? You DO know how to swim!” it is still my knee-jerk reaction to hesitate and worry or even to just STOP.
My wish is to rid myself of that distrust of life and the universe. To find that calm place of trust that nothing will be put before me that I will not be able to handle. To believe in my inner strength, knowing that those tired little legs have grown strong and untiring and have proven time and again that there is not a mountain that I cannot forge and stand at the summit and say, “Now that was not so hard.” Actually, I would like to stand at the summit without even saying that, because even saying that reveals some self-doubt. Maybe I would just come to the summit, look around and take it all in, see the land below me and the sky above me and just feel I am a natural part of it all – that the climb was really just a lazy river ride.
I guess knowing how to do it, knowing what that natural approach toward life and its many hills and valleys is, that trust of self and the unseen supportive forces, is the “unknown.” I want to enter into it. Give up the known worry. Enter into trust. Let life take me higher and to live it to the fullest. Bring it on!