It is my favorite hiking trail I’ve challenged myself to so far. It’s not a walk in the park. You need to be sure-footed, and definitely paying attention to where you step. Look up to daydream, and a twisted ankle may be the image you find yourself staring at as the rescuers pull you out of this canyon.
As I practice the art of self-awareness, it seems more and more stuff crops up, that throw me off my path. Now I’m tuned into what is going on in my mind, in my heart, in my gut, it seems issues or let’s call them considerations show up more often. I am attempting to no longer go blindly through life. Don’t get me wrong, there are many days I find myself hiding behind those figurative dark glasses, afraid to peek out for fear of being seen for who I am and what I think and feel. It’s a process, this practice of self awareness, and I highly encourage it. Courage is the tool you need to pack with you for as sure as you seek self awareness, you will discover many things about you that set you downhill into a crevice of self pity, self doubt and self loathing. You must have the courage to see these things clearly and at times the truth cuts deep. Yet, it is only with an open wound that one can witness the healing process.
I’ll call these things that crop up, trip over, run into, considerations because they make you consider their impact on your life. They make you consider new avenues to turn down. They make you consider if what it is you are thinking and doing right now is a result of following your gut or following the crowd? Is it ego driven or passion driven? Does it help you or hinder you? Is it a result of past issues from your family of origin? This list is probably endless.
It was on this hike that I found myself face to face with some considerations. The catalyst, was a woman. I was on the path heading up a somewhat steep grade. Billy-goating as I like to refer to it as. Yet, this is where I lost my footing. I ran smack dab into her steadfastness, which meant there was not a chance on this green earth she would give way for me so I could pass.
That’s right, she was in my way, on my side of the path. There’s etiquette when hiking and like driving on the right hand side of the road, you walk on the right-hand side of the path and when someone is coming up hill you move over to let them keep moving.
Well for whatever reason, bad day or bad manners or simply unaware, she stood her ground. I was almost right in her face expecting she’d move over when she said, “excuse me” in a you’re in my way tone, and in an instant I shifted over and gave way.
I actually recorded my emotions as I reached the top of the hill and headed for the car to lick my bruised feelings. I got upset with myself as I realized I give way often. Some of you may know what I’m talking about. Some may not. Take for example, you’re walking on a busy sidewalk or in a crowded mall and people just don’t budge and it’s you that has to move over or go around them. My question is why do we do that?
It’s been a few days since this incident so I’ve had time to mull it around. The conclusion I’ve come to is that first, I must be grateful for people like her because if she had not blocked my path I wouldn’t have taken one iota of time to look at myself, try and understand what was going on in me. Why did a small thing like bad hiking etiquette upset me so much? I know that by facing this and trying to figure it out I”ll be in a better position mentally and spiritually for having thought about it and understanding why it happened, and how I would handle it next time or what I would do to create within me a way of being where someone would move out of my way.
Back to why we give way? Is it sheer politeness? How our parents were or how we were taught? Are we mimicking what other people around us do? Or is it a deeper reason, one that goes way back to our youth? Is it that we need so badly for people to like us? Do we give ourselves to their control simply because we want to be liked or to be lead? Are we looking for that way of being where we don’t have to make decisions, and that we don’t have to get into fights, or disagreements so we give away our power. Or maybe we’re sabotaging ourselves for fear of failure, being seen as inconsequential, as missing a few brain cells because if we stood up and said “hey, no, you move over buddy”, then we’d have to walk into unfamiliar territory. Territory that means we have to own the consequences, which may in some cases mean harsh words thrown our way or a strong left hook.
There’s probably a book beginning here so I’ll end it with, what do you think? Why do we give way? I have a feeling it’s different for each of us.
One last thought – take up the practice of self-awareness and begin to get out of your own way! It eventually makes for a more pleasant walk through life as you work on and then leave issues that crop up, in your dust.