Standing in the line at Starbucks I contemplate whether I should take my toque off or not. Dressed in my snow pants a puddle is forming around my boots, despite tapping them before coming in. The snow I trail in from my hike is transforming and adapting in its new environment. Though I am not so sure my hair will be so graceful, perhaps though just as messy. What can a 2-hour hike do to an already messy bun? Lord only knows and the poor patrons of this classy establishment are about to find out.
Well, okay I will be honest I had to go the washroom anyways, so I did a quick private reveal first in the bathroom mirror. Not bad, I still look human and respectable, who would have thought? I was definitely playing out another story in my head and this hairdo. Now that I am over this distraction it is time to get on to the real reason why I am writing this article. This week the Ontario Government announced more restrictions again for a second, or is this a third year in a row now (starting to lose count). This has not been an easy pill for some of my clients, friends, and family to digest.
My hike this morning it felt somewhat symbolic to this. It started off all pretty with snow floating through the sky and the temperature was mild. I was creating fresh footprints blazing a trail as I started out. It was beautiful. Even the waves along the shoreline were rhythmic with the white caps matching the snow dusting the rocky shore. I took big breaths with every step. It was a grounding stroll.
Then when it came to working my way back the wind was at my face. I curled in pulling the drawstrings of my hoody that layered my toque and hood of my coat. Yet I still felt the cold whip my face and wind resist my every step. The trail was the same, yet the hike took a turn and everything about it felt different and almost uncomfortable.
When we start out with some of our ideals, goals, or dreams. We are excited, energized, and full of desire and hope. Like my morning hike I was living out my ideal walk to start with. It was playing out exactly how I was wanting. But the walk back to the car, though I have done it so many times before was not at all the desire. But the reality is, with all challenges there will be ups and downs, twists, and turns with the dash of unexpected. However, when in the thick of these lows there is the moment when the switch flips. You start to question your motives, the hike, your goals.
“Why did I do this?”
“Is it worth it?”
“How much further?”
“Do I still want to do this?”
Then when I look up and poke my nose out into the cold from these rapid-fire questions. I realize through my speckled (possibly now even icicle glasses) that I have not made it as far as I was expecting and still have much further to go to complete this hike. Ugg.
Here is what we are losing during all of this time: the value of being present and being with the process. What makes our goals and dreams meaningful is the magic of our struggles and how we got through them. Think about it. Remember a time when you went through a struggle and came out the other end stronger, wiser and conquered whatever it was. It would not have been the same without the storyline of a good struggle. The problem is when we are in the thick of it, it is hard to see that this could be our moment that anchors a good story.
So, no matter where you are right now on your metaphorical hike. Remember in the pandemic we are creating something that you will remember forever. How do you want your story to play out? Every action or inaction today is manifesting what is to come tomorrow. True, there are many things that are not within our control. Those are the things you need to let go of. Also, your response, that is all yours. Hold on to the things that you can impact. It may not be clear how; you must trust. Lastly, do not gum yourself up with your past or the future. You cannot change what has already happened and you cannot guarantee what will happen in the future. The present is where it is at. Even if it is not comfortable right now or may seem unbearable. And if things feel tough, remember, so are you.
If you ever want to chat, I am here for you.