Like me, you may have had the experience of starting on a journey, knowing you were moving towards something important, but not in a million years realizing how steep the climb was going to be...
No matter where you are stuck or overwhelmed, how does remembering that occasionally stepping off the path supports your optimal health?
Some journeys feel like meandering along a winding path. Easy, pleasant, relaxing.
Other journeys feel like an occasional out-of-breath moment, combined with a gentle rolling path the rest of the time.
And then there are the other journeys.... the ones that are unanticipated, unwelcome, and so strenuous that given an option, I would turn around every step of the way.
On those journeys, I am required to climb straight up a steep rock cliff, hand over hand, feeling for the next crevice, without the promise of an end in sight.
That kind of steep climb happens to all of us...
It may be when there is an intractable problem at work.
When there is a new cancer diagnosis.
When someone you love has dementia.
Or when your child is in serious trouble or struggling.
When I am exhausted from the strenuous climb and want to either turn back or simply let go, I remember that I have another option - I can step to the side. I step to the side, sit down, and breathe. Then I look out over the bigger picture for perspective.
From that angle, I can better feel the welcome kindness from the good friend who says "I love you no matter what."
Or recognize the warmth of the soft skin of the hand I can still hold.
Or remember that when I remain grounded and solid, I can model self-care to the child who is struggling to find their way.
Then, when I have had the chance to catch my breath, I step back onto the steep path but this time, I have the added armor of new awarenesses and the path feels just a tiny bit less strenuous.
I accept the fact that I have strenuous journeys in my life because it is an unavoidable part of being alive. And, I can choose, with self-awareness, to step off the path to breathe and reflect along the way. That is up to me.
Reach out to me if you are on a strenuous journey and want to step off of the path to breathe and reflect.