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Archive for Adaptability

Maintaining Your Road

So many signs along the road as I go for my morning walk! Some are about upcoming events (Dance! Friday night!). Others to locate a lost pet, complete with picture, description and contact number. Then, there are road signs. Dead End. No Right Turn on Red. School Zone. But the one that intrigued me was: Primitive Road. Caution. Use At Your Own Risk.

Roads, especially the dirt ones, are a specialty of our rural areas. What makes for a well-built road? First, they are graded to become flat and smooth. The best ones have a slight crown in the middle of the roadway to allow rain or melting snow to drain away. A very durable material of surface gravel, stones, and fine dirt is then dumped on the area and smoothed with massive pieces of equipment. Next is a layer of finely compacted earth, designed to be long-lasting to the weather.

But after a while, washboarding occurs. That’s the choppy ride you get when traveling over five mph on this jarring surface. The road itself resembles an old-fashioned washboard, hence the name, and if you speed along, can even be hazardous. Potholes can also be menaces, threatening axels and alignments of cars. But to repair and maintain them, huge graders are brought in. They take about an inch from the top of the surface, blend it with new materials and lay it back down. The road is smooth again.

The sign and the road are like life. At a very early age, you begin to build a foundation of belief and knowledge. This is similar to creating a smooth road and is indeed Primitive. The sources of this base usually come from your mom and dad, other family members, school experiences and sometimes your church. As a baby and toddler, you are cautious, for the world is new to you. Slowly, you build a framework of know-how. What is successful is retained, while you toss that which is not useful. Over the years, you develop a pattern of life for yourself.

But every now and again, a pothole pops up or you hit a washboard. Life is bumpy or even treacherous. Your experience from the past cannot cover this new event. Perhaps it’s the death of someone close to you. Or the failure of a business you started up. Or the frustration of not dropping those pounds that appear to be glued on permanently.

You can choose to stop there. After all, the sign says, “use at your own risk.” But then you take a chance on getting stuck where you are, never venturing out to new horizons or trying new venues.

But how to positively maintain your road? Here are some ideas:

  • Check out your beliefs. What was useful in the past may not always be what works in the present. And may not fuel those dreams for the future.
  • Test your risk quotient. Take a chance and venture to somewhere new. Do something you’ve never tried before. Stretch your horizons.
  • Take a look at your personal potholes and washboard situations. A relative rub you the wrong way? A friend try to put limits on your life? Start the day with a negative outlook? Time to grade the top layer? Or perhaps dig deeper and sort through some of the stones and gravel of learning placed there years ago? Take an inventory and make some changes.

Life is an adventure. You can keep on traveling the washboard of experiences. Or begin new adventures to smooth your life and enjoy growth for your heart and soul. The time is now.

Duck Bottoms: Diving Into the Depths

On my morning walk, I pass by a pond lined with plants of all types. The drought caused the water levels to get lower and lower over the summer, and I watched the waterfowl fly away to find more comfortable homes. Over time, they left in twos and threes until there were few left. Here on the Mountain we have been fortunate to have some monsoon moisture this year. After a microburst a few weeks ago, the pond was nearly full again. And the birds returned.

As I considered these flying creatures, it occurred to me: they are at home on land, in the air, and on the water. Remarkably adaptable, they can find nourishment on the ground or in the deeper depth of the pond. They scavenge for bugs and grubs in the tall grasses, protected from other predators that might lurk nearby. Duck bills are wide enough to gather up the bigger edibles.

These remarkable creatures can also dive deep beneath the surface, with their feathery bottoms in the air and webbed feet keeping them stable. I wonder: what do they see in the underwater habitat? These versatile feathered animals may bob back to the surface with bugs or a fish in their beaks. Or they may be unsuccessful and submerge themselves underwater once again to secure some nourishment. But they are as comfortable in the water as they are on land and in the air.

Are you as adaptable as these waterfowl? Able to duck your head into emotions to discover the authentic you? Or are you more comfortable on solid ground, connecting with the earth? A few tips to begin to know yourself are:

  • Find peace in the outdoors. Frenzied with the ongoing fuss of everyday life? Get out in nature and be still. You will be able to dive more in-depth when you feel calm and tranquil.
  • Spend 15-20 minutes each day in solitude. The inner mind is continuously chattering, searching for answers to untold questions. When still, your mind calms itself. Much easier to dive deep and discover your own inimitable treasures.
  • Discover flexibility inside of you. How adaptable are you? Can you both float on the surface of your being and plunge deep within when you choose? Both are skills worth developing.
  • Take stock of past patterns of behavior. To learn more about yourself, chart a timeline of past actions and attitudes. They will provide a map for both the present and future. This activity also makes goal setting, life focus, and purpose.
  • Get curious about yourself. Are you bored with life? Want to know more about yourself? Be adventurous and take the journey of discovery to who you are as a being. Bring your inner values to light and revel in who you are. You too can fly, be in the depths of feelings and ground yourself each day. You will travel farther and faster than you have ever dreamed.

I’m curious: how do you dive deep to discover what’s within you? How do you fly high? Or are you comfortable where you are? Let me know below in the comments.