Sunday, April 29, 2012

Trailheads & Rattlesnakes

I went for a hike today with my dear friend, Jessica, and the whole experience was beautifully symbolic of my current point on this journey. The Universe tends to send me these little lessons when it wants me to pay attention and make the connection to something bigger that is happening in my life. I’m paying attention now.

The idea was to get some fresh air and do some scheming and dreaming about a creative endeavor we’re hoping to team up on. (It’s just a seed now, but it feels as if this little blog could grow into something bigger. More on this later.) The expert map readers that we are, we missed the trailhead we were looking for- about five times. We were determined to find just the right path though, even if we had to start over. This reminded me that sometimes it’s hard to find your starting point. Maybe you take a trail and it’s not what you thought it would be. Know that it’s never too late to start over in life. It is never too late to seek out your trailhead and follow your bliss. Sometimes it takes years of wandering lost and unsure before you find your way to that meaningful path, the one that feels just right, like it was meant for you. But it is well worth it.

We were on our chosen path for a very short time when fear set in.  A baby rattlesnake was casually catching some sun on the very narrow trail. (Hello Southern California wildlife!) We were a mere four feet from stepping on his little snakey head!! This was my first encounter with a snake in the wild and it instantly brought back memories of my irrational fear of snakes as a child.     (I say irrational because I couldn’t even look at pictures of them in books without freaking out.) I think I managed to play it cool, but I could feel all of my fight or flight instincts kicking in –OK, mostly flight. The snake held his ground, but because my friend was with me (and she makes me feel brave) so did we. It seemed just plain silly to go back the way we came when we were so close to the end of the loop.

I admit, fear has made me retreat in the past. Fear is such a fascinating construct. It can stop us dead in our tracks and make us question our goals. It can send us into a counterproductive tailspin or a full speed run to safety and comfort, away from our ambitions. I realize now that like my paralyzing fear of snakes, my fear of the unknown on this creative journey is inevitable. There will be risks and there will be obstacles. Now I understand the idea behind the old Zen proverb, “The obstacle is the path.” We simply must learn to overcome if we want to move forward in our chosen direction. This is what makes us strong for the rest of our journey.

Lucky for all involved, a clever young man came along and sprayed some water in the snake’s direction. (Why didn’t we think of that?) Mr. Rattlesnake made his way back into the brush and we made a daring leap to the other side of the trail. The whole thing lasted minutes, but it felt like I just faced a lifetime of fear-based decision making, and I realized that’s not how I want to make my decisions anymore. When we make decisions out of fear, we deny ourselves the freedom to know our full potential. From now on, I choose to stand my ground when fear sets in and find a way around the problem.
I choose to proceed along the path, regardless of the obstacles. I will not allow fear to keep me from moving forward on my chosen path. As an artist, entrepreneur and growing soul, I CHOOSE FAITH.

*(Note: No snakes were harmed in the making of this courage.)

No comments:

Post a Comment