As I’ve been spending some time walking in the desert over the past couple of weeks, I’m acutely aware of an underlying (ok, sometimes right at the surface) fear of critters rustling around in the brush. Even though I’m on a paved trail, in a populated community, right next to a golf course, I’m just sure that some poisonous, unexpected creature is going to come bounding out from behind a nearby cactus and bite or sting me. Thus, my morning walks are not altogether relaxing. There is desert beauty all around me: stark, rocky mountains, a stunning azure sky, and fresh dry air that I never encounter in the misty northwest. But I’m only drinking in that glory in shallow breaths for fear of an encounter with a rattlesnake, a scorpion, or a tarantula. Granted, I’ve never actually seen any of these critters while walking; I’m just afraid that today will be the day. The reality is, all I see are tiny birds and rabbits.
It has made me wonder how much of my life is spent that way. What am I missing out on because I’m living in fear of the unknown instead of walking in the glory of the fullness of life that surrounds me? I sometimes find myself taking sudden deep breaths in the course of a day, making me realize that most of my breathing isn’t deep enough to get needed oxygen to my brain. Is it fear? Stress? Preoccupation with something subconscious? I would much prefer breathing deeply and taking in all the beauty of the world that surrounds me. But there’s always that fear of critters….
I’m making a commitment – not a resolution – in the New Year to breathe deeply and to drink in the beauty of nature and of relationships that surround me. Will you join me?