Bushwacking Through Life

Years ago some friends and I decided to go hiking in the mountains near my home. It was a beautiful day in late spring, and with the snow finally melted, the path was easy to find and follow. As we continued on, though, we began encountering small rocks and boulders strewn along the way, and while we averted them for the most part, having to watch each step took our attention away from the beauty around us. And, because we were so focused on the obstacles, we had somehow veered off the path and suddenly found ourselves at a dead end. With no path in sight and faced with a seemingly impenetrable wall of trees, brush and tangled vines, we took stock of our situation and considered our options. We finally agreed that rather than going back in search of the path, we would begin bushwhacking our way through. After a while, scratched, tired and dirty, we finally emerged from the woods, laughing and relieved when we discovered the path we thought we’d lost was only a short distance away. We felt invincible, and with renewed energy from having conquered the obstacles, thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the hike.

That experience had been all but forgotten when one recent morning I awoke with the word “bushwhack” running through my mind. Almost immediately the connections between that long-ago hike and the unexpected detour from my life path were made clear.

Cancer…when it was discovered earlier this year, I suddenly found myself thrown off course and spent much of my time wondering why I was having this experience, knowing that something so impactful had deep meanings and messages behind it. As the months passed the healing journey was often challenging, and yet incredible insights and revelations emerged, including the realization that we all “bushwhack” our way through life at one time or another. Just when we think we have things figured out, or perhaps aren’t even so sure we have but are at least treading the waters of life, it seems that all shapes and sizes of obstacles crop up: a relationship falters or ends, the roof begins to leak, a sudden illness occurs, we face financial challenges, the car breaks down, and so on…and we often begin to put all our energy and attention on all the things that are going “wrong,” losing sight of both our path and the bigger picture.

Being distracted from our paths is often when we find our hidden strengths. In actuality, nothing can ever go “wrong;” we are simply being handed another opportunity to learn about ourselves and to change what isn’t working in our lives. Believing anyone or anything is standing in the way of our happiness, health and wellbeing gives them tremendous power and can leave us feeling stressed, stuck and despairing. No one has the ability to choose for us unless we let them. And if we do step back, accept that there is a reason for everything ~ even if we don’t know what it is at the moment ~ and see these challenges as a chance to gain insight and strength, we can bushwhack through them alone or together and, emerging stronger than ever, pick up the path again.

Copyright © 2012 Carina Bachman / CrystalSpringsHealing.com

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