I absorb a lot of inspiration by accident, or perhaps by coincidence.
Sometimes I hear just a words of a passerby’s conversation or a rustle in the bushes and that’s enough to set me off on a day-dream or a thought process that can last hours. The simplest thing, the smallest detail can teach me something important and interesting about myself and the bigger picture of life.
I credit these consistent, and totally random blimps of inspiration to paying attention to my surroundings and being in the moment.
I’m a believer in the flow of inspiration. That inspiration is everywhere, always whirling and swirling around ready to be noticed. That if I truly pay attention and simply follow my interests and passions, each day will supply me with all the wisdom, inspiration, and opportunity I need to feel fulfilled and contribute to the beauty of the world.
Yesterday I went for a run around the lake near our house.
I run this lake often during the week. It’s absolutely beautiful. The kind of beauty that transports you a little bit, makes you forget you’re so close to roads and cars and buildings. And when I hit the trail early enough, I’m lucky to be the only one out there. Just the pattering if my feet on the dusty trail as I skip over exposed tree roots and hop around lightning fast baby lizards. The hiss of my breathing, the myriad of birds song, and the warm feeling of the rising sun against the crisp clear morning air.
Anyway, on the walk home from my run yesterday passed two women whom I heard whisper to each other as we crossed paths…
“ I’ll never go around the lake alone like that….I’m too afraid. I mean, I don’t even have cell service out there..”
Fear is such a sneaky feeling, especially when it comes to being alone in nature. I think many of us, myself included, sometimes mix up the all-pervasive feeling of fear with other, very different feelings and emotions.
We confuse fear with feelings of discomfort, or self-doubt, or loneliness, or uncertainty…
Fear keeps us safe in pivotal situations and should be respected and valued, especially in nature. But fear is not the same as uncertainty or low self-esteem or inexperience or even discomfort. And when we hid behind fear through misrepresenting or misunderstanding our deeper feelings and emotions, we cut ourselves off from so much fulfillment and enjoyment and inspiration in life.
Being afraid of or uncomfortable with ourselves does not justify our fear of the world around us.
Sure, you can talk yourself into fear with ‘what ifs’ and you can prevent yourself from exploring solo because ‘there’s no one around if I need help’ and you can make the world your enemy by convincing yourself that there are weirdos out there waiting to get you. But just remember that you’re deciding to be afraid.
You’re deciding that being alone and out of cell service is a scary and exposed place to be. You’re deciding that everything bad could happen, and that anything and anyone could be out there waiting for you. And those decisions and opinions are not coming from nature…. they’re coming from inside you. I guess what I’m saying is, perhaps it’s not nature that you’re afraid of…. perhaps what you’re afraid of is the discomfort you carry within yourself.
Listen, Mom Nature deserves our respect. She can be harsh and intimidating and unrelenting. But, she’s not out to get you. The other people and animals out there aren’t out to get you either. And to assume they are isn’t doing you any good.
I spend a lot of time in nature alone, out of cell service. I’ve fallen down many times out there and had to hobble back to the trail head after dark. I’ve lost my way. I cross paths with many an animal. I get good feelings and bad feelings from people and storm clouds and potential landslides. I cry, and bleed, and marvel, and have the time if my life out there.
It’s who I am. And I can’t imagine my life without the alone time I spend on the trails.
I share this because maybe you, like that woman I passed yesterday, and like me years ago, are afraid to get out and explore on your own…
And to that I say, maybe you’re not actually afraid at all. Maybe you’re just uncomfortable or lonely or vulnerable. And perhaps by spending a little bit more time exploring and understanding the depth of your feelings you’ll find a vast landscape of possibility inside you, beyond the mirage of being afraid. And just maybe you’ll evolve and expand your own threshold for discomfort and fear, and be more willing to spend time getting to know yourself, trusting yourself, and trusting the trails you know and love and are called to.
Keep putting yourself out there. It’s worth the effort.
See ya out there 🙂