So I’m out for my morning walk. It’s a beautiful day. I head toward an area that I love. It grounds me. Brings me peace. Some days I walk in silence and some days I’ll listen to a podcast.
Today was a podcast day.
As I’m walking along, immersed in this podcast, I suddenly get an uneasy feeling. I looked around and realized I didn’t recognize where I was. I stopped the podcast and did a 360 trying to get a familiar sense of my surroundings. Trail in front of me. Trail behind me. Trees on either side. But where exactly was I?
Nothing looked familiar.
I thought about turning back to get to the spot where I must have taken a “wrong” turn. But I didn’t know how far I was from there because up to that point, I was too immersed in the podcast and not paying enough attention to my surroundings.
Standing there I truly felt lost and uncomfortable knowing I had an appointment in 45 minutes. A bit of panic came over me because I’m now thinking I have no idea how long it will take me to get home or even how to get home from the place I stood.
Quickly realizing how ridiculous I sounded in my head I told myself exactly this:
“Get a grip Salazar! It’s not like you’re out in the middle of a backcountry miles away from civilization with no food or water!”
Well, the ‘no food or water’ part was actually true. But I figured if I kept on walking I’d eventually get to food and water before the sun went down. I mean, it was only 8:40am. That gave me a good 8 hours before the sun would start to set.
Besides, I’m a fast walker, so I felt like time was definitely on my side!
Except maybe for my appointment!
Alright, enough attempt at comedy.
After getting quiet inside my gut told me to keep walking in the direction I was already headed.
Lo and behold, 15 minutes later, I was back in familiar territory!
Still no food or water in sight but I was now only 5 minutes from my house!
If I had turned back to find the familiar path, I would have ended up much further from home jeopardizing being on time for my appointment.
Now you may be thinking – “Why the heck are you sharing this story with me, Linda?”
Later That Day
Thinking back on my morning walk later in the day, it felt like a metaphor for life. For those times when we feel lost inside. When we’ve lost our inner compass and certainty about the direction of our life.
And that’s when we often become the most uncomfortable.
But ultimately, it’s those uncomfortable moments that are inviting us to lean into them. To find a way to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. These moments give us an opportunity to discover something new about ourselves. An opportunity to drop the logical thinking and get creative. It forces us to slow down and reassess what wasn’t working and discover what might work better.
The bottom line, being uncomfortable is always an opportunity to grow and expand. 2020 certainly gave us plenty of opportunity to do just that. And 2021 will continue to offer us the same. Not necessarily because of a pandemic or political challenge, but because that’s what life does for us, more times than not.
So I invite you to continue to do your best to embrace the times the unfamiliar finds its way into your life, again – even if it only last 15 minutes.