Last weekend I headed out for a hike with one of my favorite trail friends. We set out with our eyes on a local summit....one we've done plenty of times. This trail happens to be one of my faves for lots of reasons....not the least of which being there are two ways to the top--including a notorious sign telling you to choose from the "difficult" or "more difficult" paths!
This time, however, we didn't take either of those paths. Instead, we got to a junction that I barely remembered existed and she asked if I wanted to go that way. Of course I did! I always love exploring new places. But honestly, I have to admit, that my legs were feeling a little tired and out of shape and I wondered how much more this was going to add to the mileage....Kind of how I feel in my life right now, actually. Like there are these amazing trails that I feel called to explore and go down but I'm feeling a little tired from all the hats I already wear and worry about how on earth I'm going to manage!!
Do you ever feel that way? Like, "okay Universe, I love this new path you're showing me, but how in the heck am I supposed to take that at the same time as this path over here that I can't really get off of yet?" So I take some steps forward and a few backward and I do a lot of wondering and hoping and practice trusting in something bigger than me as well as work on building up my new skillset to trust my commitment to myself to grow and flourish. And do you know what? As I write this, I would freaking love to tell you that I stuck out all the hard and I've gotten through to the other side and its rainbows and unicorns and you should stick with it, too.
But that would be a lie.
So here's what did happen. I followed my friend on this beautiful footpath through the woods. And honestly? It was a whole lot prettier than our normal trail to the top. There were cute little waterfalls and some of the most amazing fungi (anyone know a fun guy, btw? Maybe one I'd want to go on more than one date with? I digress....) and beautiful trees that had the sun coming through just perfectly. And then we came around the corner and there was this beautiful fairy tale bridge. Seriously. How did that get there? We're not talking someone's eagle scout project--this was a full on bridge across a raging creek and was just right there in the middle of a practically forgotten and almost overgrown tiny footpath. Obviously, the forest service knew that creek would need a real-deal bridge and had prepared something that would last for years and delight unexpected hikers like us! Now, one thing you should know about me--I love beautiful bridges. I love how they connect two places across an otherwise impassable divide. I love how they look. I love how they function. I love when they curve or have suspension or any number of amazing feats of architecture that I totally don't understand. But mostly that whole connection piece is what draws me in.
Because how else do you cross something impassable? How do you get across the canyon of differing opinions? How do you get across the raging river of hurt feelings? How do you get over the wistfulness of looking below at a path you sometimes wish you had taken? Bridges. Bridges cross those things. Bridges give us the tools to cross the impassable. Sometimes they are rickety and we wonder if we will fall to our death. Sometimes they are shoddily built, but our only option. Sometimes they are beautifully constructed but ugly. Sometimes they swing when we take a tentative step and we hold on for dear life while contemplating turning back around. And sometimes, like this bridge in the backwoods middle of nowhere, they are unexpected, beautiful, and strong. And those are the tools that I've stumbled on as I've taken this journey to heal my life and stop living in the land of victimness. Those are the unexpected and beautiful and strongly made tools that have shaped my new existence, my love of life, my newfound confidence, my inner wild feminine. Those are the tools that helped me get out of my own freaking way so that I could let the light in me shine unabashedly and vulnerably and beautifully. Those are the tools that I am so amazingly excited to teach my coaching clients and that make me literally do a happy dance as I watch them make connections that took me way too many years to make.
Back to the trail. You know where else that beautiful bridge brought us? To a path that pretty much went right to the top without much extra mileage. Like it literally popped out in almost the exact place our regular boring trail does. Did it matter that it wasn't the familiar path? The well-marked path? The wider path? Not even a little and actually quite the opposite since it turned out to be prettier, full of unexpected wonders, had a killer bridge, and still got us to the goal--that summit filled with gorgeous views and a feeling of being on top of the world! I'll take it. And I'll keep taking this lesser-marked path in my life. I'll keep enjoying the beauty this trail has--the fairy waterfalls, the occasional fungi (pun totally intended), the beautiful bridges, the light....and I'll keep spreading the love and the joy and the beauty. Because unlike the trail that day....I have no idea what the next part of my journey holds. But I do know that I am strong and capable and have eyes open to see the beauty on the way up, even on the days when all I can do is put one foot in front of the other or sit down and cry. Neither option is turning around. Both options keep forward momentum until I'm ready to charge ahead again. We're in this together. We've got this.
Sending you all the love and light, lovelies!