The Walk of Life

We spend our days, walking on the beach, lazing about, reading, watching and listening to the ocean, snorkeling, and relaxing.  Our one and only goal is to completely relax and enjoy our time together.   One morning we take a new direction on our walk.

We strolled past ancient fishing ponds and through an area filled with washed up pieces of coral (not a good sign for the health of that reef).  Walking along we keep our heads down to look for interesting pieces of coral, as well as to avoid stepping on something sharp.

Our walk that morning was filled with obstacles, dead-ends, challenges, and detours.  And it was full of soft light, green trees, the sound of the waves, and the feel of the sand beneath our feet.   What a metaphor for life’s journey!

As we walk down our path of life, sometimes we walk on smooth sidewalks and other times we are dodging potholes, tripping over cobblestones and perhaps falling.  We try to avoid sharp objects hidden in our path.  Not sure what we will encounter, we continue moving forward.

And then there are the times we are strolling along the sand, shifting our gaze from ocean to shore.  We might enjoy observing a sea turtle pop up for a quick breath among the waves, or watch the breeze move the palm fronds as if they are waving a greeting just to us.

Perhaps we listen to the pounding surf against the shore and feel the cool water cover our toes with each influx of a wave.  And think life is wonderful.  My journey is one of ease.

Life is a mix of experiences.  The question is how do you approach the times when you stumble across rocks and coral (perhaps doing a “face-plant”) versus the times when you are walking on soft sand? 

How do you feel about your life when you are walking along a narrow road, hoping the drivers of the on-coming cars are paying attention and don’t clip you by accident?

Do you rail against the injustice of a path that has obstacles and mini-hazards?  Do you mutter to yourself that your feet are getting sandy, sticky, and wet?  Do you curse and claim the unfairness of it all when you stumble?  Do you ask yourself “why me?” as you pick your way through the rocks?

Or as you stumble through the coral, do you look for unusual pieces and colors?  Do you try to imagine other objects in the shapes you see?  Do you think about the purpose of a coral reef?

Perhaps you tell yourself, “well this is uncomfortable now, but it won’t last.  I’ll get back to the soft sand soon.  In the meantime, I’m going to focus on the clouds, appreciate the blue of the sky, listen to the birds, and appreciate each step that moves me forward.”

Do you see only obstacles and challenges?  Or do you look for the beauty, enjoy the people you meet, and recognize the lessons along the way?

Do you feel angry because your path has more rocks than others you know?  Do you imagine others are strolling along the sand while you are struggling to avoid sharp objects?

Perhaps you add drama to your experience by becoming irritated and have an emotional outburst about the unfairness of life.  Or you turn your frustration inward and believe you are not as “lucky” as other people.

What about the strangers you see along your journey?  Do you welcome them, greeting them with a smile and a hello?  Or do you keep your eyes down, ruminating on what is in your way?

No one life is without rocks, hot pavement, uneven surfaces, sharp objects and other obstacles.  Some have more challenges than others.  It is how you approach your journey that makes the difference in your experience. 

We all have our own path through life.  There are times we are strolling through the sand hand in hand, enjoying the experience.  And there are times we are picking our way through rocks, hoping we don’t fall.

Each life is full of challenges and joys.  There is a rhythm and cycle to life.  Sharp stones and soft sand.  What do you pay attention to as you walk down your path?