The other day, my dog was loose while I was walking in the woods. He took off. As I looked for him, I discovered a new path. I’ve been walking these woods for more than 20 years. I always walk more or less the same routes. Here I find this gorgeous area, just beyond where I planned to walk, that had remained undiscovered to me all these years. Taking the same route is always easier than choosing something different. It is often the same with our thoughts and actions. They become these well-worn neural pathways we take without even thinking.
Automatic responses can be helpful. They take less energy. We can get things done without really having to think about it. But they can also not be in our best interests, especially if they end up conflicting with our values or goals.
I remember, many years ago now, realizing that my automatic response, or well-worn pathway, was saying no. No to a change in plans. No to new things. No to anything that caused any discomfort. It took a lot of time and coaxing to get me to say yes. (My poor husband who loves new stuff and change and adventure!) I always had (what I considered at the time) good reasons for saying no.
On my growth journey, I’ve been learning to change that automatic response to yes. Yes, because I want to be a more courageous person. Yes, because I want to keep growing and learning. Yes, because I want to develop my business. Yes, because I want to deepen my relationships. For some of you reading this post, your default may already be saying yes and perhaps your new path to explore is about pausing before you say yes and creating some healthy boundaries – but that is a post for another day.
I’m not advocating we always say yes. I am suggesting a pause and a considered response based on what matters.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.Viktor E. Frankl
Saying yes more often, has helped me learn to trust my capacity to develop what I need to know as I go, and to adapt in the moment. Both of these skills, flexibility and trusting my capacity, have been helpful in many other situations too. Saying yes has led me to a deep-down discovery of things about myself. E.G. I’ll be okay even if I mess something up. I have developed a somewhat healthier relationship with failure. (This is still a work in progress.) Saying yes has led me to new and exciting opportunities.
These new paths I found in the woods motivate me to get out and walk. I feel more joy and anticipation and I’m more conscious when I walk. These are all good things, discovered by accident, that have reminded me to stay conscious of my other choices too.
This Weeks Photos
This week’s photos are in honour of my new path in the woods where I discovered so many treasures.