We’ve had the most glorious weekend here in Berkshire and I’ve been wandering around “our” lake. It’s actually a nature reserve very close to where I live. It’s a place that’s very close to my heart and I have walked there a great deal over the years. I’ve also taken many photos there which I use from time to time when I write. It’s a source of inspiration to me and it’s a place where I can let go of worries and find peace, quiet and inner stillness. So many times I’ve been there with my head filled crammed with thoughts. Just being there with the natural world, perhaps listening to the birds,, watching the squirrels play, being at one with the natural world, I regain the ability to let go and find a sense of joy.
I was there yesterday afternoon. The first thing that surprised me was how wet under foot it was and just how much mud there was! It’s also quite overgrown in places, testament to the rain we’ve had. There are several paths I can take and, because I’d only worn canvas shoes, my route was decided for me by the path that lay ahead. As I walked, it occurred to me that this is like life.
Our path may be clear and straight. We can see where we are going as the view ahead is open so we can feel confident in the route ahead. When life is easy and straightforward, we can perhaps feel happy and contented.
If the path ahead meanders and we can’t see clearly where we are going, things are sometimes not so straightforward and our patience and resilience may be more tested.
If the path is a muddy, difficult one, we may have to take steps to avoid the puddles ahead or, if it’s a very deep puddle, perhaps we have find another way around or even change direction completely.
We are all different and will have our own individual approach to the choices we face on our journey called life, The path ahead for each one of us will change as we move forward. Sometimes it will be clear and straight, changing as our environment shifts which means we cannot always see around those corners. On occasions, we may feel the path is too difficult to navigate and we may have to make decisions as to how we navigate our own path.
How we do this will depend on many things, including our beliefs and values, how we’ve been brought up, our past experience and our views on what is right for us. We make our choices, but sometimes our choices are dictated by the circumstances of the moment and, on occasions, we may then have to take a path that we may perhaps have preferred not to take. How we react then can be determined very much determined by our attitude towards life. It can be easy or tempting to rail against the unfairness of things or blame others.
Alternatively, I suggest, we can remain grounded and take stock of where we are, viewing the situation with some detachment, letting go of the emotion that can come in the heat of the moment, when we’re unsure what to do next. If we can let go of the things we don’t need, we can learn to flow a little more easily through life. The paths we travel in life are varied and many. They may not always be the paths we want to tread, but they are perhaps the paths we need to tread, to learn and grow.
A yoga class once a week will improve your wellbeing. From small beginnings many good things come. When I first started to practise yoga, I had no idea how the path I travel would change. Yoga has improved my whole sense of wellbeing, improved my health and brings me an ever-growing self-knowledge and understanding. My working life has completely changed: and I feel fortunate to be able to share the benefits of yoga with all the wonderful people whose paths now cross mine.
Whatever path you take, I wish you well. Our journeys are surely our own, but I commend the benefits that yoga will bring you, whoever you are.
© Sarah Swan (24 September 2017)