How often do we just go about our everyday business without even thinking about it, it’s just what we do? We miss what is going on. I know that I walk to work exactly the same way every day, I know where I’m going, i know how long it is going to take me, and I therefore know if I’m speed walking or strolling by how long it has taken me. I like a routine. Routine isn’t bad, in fact it can be very helpful, but… What I’m being challenged by recently is the idea of exploring.
A friend told me that he had to walk a different way round the woods today on his daily hourly stroll, because they were felling trees. This wasn’t even a walk to work, or to somewhere but just a walk for leisure, and yet it took the felling of trees to change that routine. He said ‘I was made to see things I haven’t seen for ages’
Quite often it takes something as major as the felling of trees to knock us out of what we know and what we see. To make us STOP and take notice.
It’s exploration that helps us develop and grow. A friends status this morning was that her son asked her at 6am ‘how exactly does the universe work?’ I’m still waiting to find out. As children we are curious beings, I love going for walks with my nephew who stops to look at every rock, flower, puddle! That wonderful question ‘why?’.
The problem is, life tends to get in the way of exploration. Suddenly we have things to do, places to be, people to see, that we can’t stop to look at the grass, to wonder why that cloud looks like a duck, to be amazed by the shape of a rock. Is it that we can’t or that we don’t? Maybe it’s more that we don’t feel we need to, because that’s not necessarily going to affect us, we know what we need to do to get where we need to get, so why worry about everything else around us?
Then of course there is the wonder of risk assessment and health and safety – I’m going to leave that sentence hanging so I don’t go off on a rant about how I was allowed to play out on the streets…
This last year has been a real exploration for me, leaving the safety of a place I had known for years, going somewhere completely new and very different. It took a real step of faith, and yet the year has been amazing, far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. If we hadn’t explored what we felt being called to, we wouldn’t have discovered the life we now know.
I have a lot of flip flops! My feet are completely flip flopped – ie they are tanned apart from the white lines from the flip flops – these lines actually last all year to a certain extent. I look forward to the day of the year when I can wear flip flops. But this year, I found that my back was hurting and my legs were hurting, and it was because of the flip flops. I’ve never had a problem before, but I’ve not been walking for 90 minutes a day in them before! So I now keep a pair of flip flops at work, and I wear other shoes, comfortable for walking, for the commute. The right shoes for the right situation!
Exploration can seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be. There will be times when it is scarier with a tougher terrain than others, but as long as you’re equipped for that time then you will be ok. In the same way you need to wear the right shoes for what you’re doing, you need to be giving yourself what you need to be able to explore. That might mean giving yourself time, it might mean taking a break, it might mean setting a crazy challenge, it might mean taking a complete and utter risk.
I’m in a period of exploration at the moment, I need to question a lot, I need to give myself time to think, I need to take risks, I need to step out of the comfort zone and out of the routine. I am flippin scared and very apprehensive, but I’m up for it! I’m starting to think the last 9 months have a deeper purpose, not just to get compliments and feel better but for something else, something bigger. I’ve got no idea what that is but the exploration has got to start. And it’s going to start…
Tomorrow I’m walking a different way to work. I have no idea which way I’m going to go, I have no idea how long it’s going to take, but I’m going to enjoy the scenery and the journey!