keep walking

keep walking

resistance
an act or instance of resisting
a means of resisting
the power or capacity to resist an opposing force

+++++

A sprinkler stopped me in my tracks a few weeks ago.

I decided to change my morning routine and walk as soon after waking as possible. My favorite walk is circling the park a half block from our home.  I know the path in my sleep which is very close to accurate. But on this given morning there was one sprinkler creating lakes over a good portion of my route. The arc stopped my tennis shoes from moving and as if playing jump rope, I needed to wait until it seemed safe to cross without being hit. 

The second time I reached this point, a man pushing a stroller came alongside me on the opposite edge of the path. We were both mesmerized by the stream of water, he looked over to me and asked,

“What do we do? Will it come back around?”

Remembering this was not my first loop, I responded by saying,

“No, this is when we go!”

We quickened our pace and continued our walk.

The following morning, I began my loop and saw the sprinkler of the day before, went through the motion of waiting my turn, and continued to walk. But in the distance, there were three intersecting sprinklers, watering the grass, paths, sidewalk, and extending to reach sections of the rose garden. With one sprinkler behind me, the new and numerous obstacles seemed to be a deal-breaker. I stood for several moments deciding what to do. There was no way I could continue my path without a serious drenching, I was the intersecting point of this Venn diagram. My non-morning person’s inner voice said to go home, this was too much.  But after a bit of self-talk, I took my feet to the street avoiding a downpour and thankfully, oncoming traffic. It seemed silly to feel thwarted by a line-up of sprinklers, however I wasn’t alone in this predicament. Other runners and walkers shook their heads in unison, continuing onward after assessing the situation. 

I did several more laps that morning for my own good but also to observe how other people navigated the sprinklers. The unofficial results of my sprinkler resistance study are below.

Some people:

  • saw the obstacle, turned around and took another route
  • waited until the obstacle cleared their way
  • adjusted their pace to walk/run behind the path of the water
  • attempted to outrun the sprinklers
  • ran directly into the spray not allowing it to deter their path

How do you handle resistance?

Prior to this global pandemic, I might have declared one strategy as better than another. Each day is filled with a multitude of changing scenarios, decisions, and new information that can feel akin to being sprayed in the face by an incoming sprinkler. Every type of resistance we encounter may require a different response.

It’s vital to remember we are encountering resistance nearly every moment. It could involve being surrounded by competing viewpoints or juggling work and schooling children. It might be patchy Wifi or grappling with the loss of what once was and now is. It is no wonder we feel so very tired. 

I can’t spare anyone from resistance but I can share that you are not alone. Whichever strategy feels best for you in any situation is valid. If you feel lost, imitate the stroller-pushing father who asked what to do and whether to expect the path of resistance to return. Let’s help one another deal with daily obstacles. Find the person who will help you know when it is time to go as well as to pause. The best reminder might be to look in the mirror and calendar. We have crossed springtime and summer and are about to enter a new season. Resistance has been encountered and traversed more times than imagined. Well done, friends.

On a recent morning, I took my normal walk. I expected all the usual landmines to mark my path. Yet there wasn’t a sprinkler in sight, only puddles providing evidence that resistance is never imagined. I felt myself grin because I had laced my shoes in spite of the hindrances I anticipated awaiting me. I pushed past the morning achiness and stiffness which favors lingering under my bed sheets. I took my place on the given path.

On my final lap, as the sun began to escape from behind the clouds, the sparkle of a familiar arc of water came into view. Resistance is often merely hidden from view. After repeated introductions it still feels like an intruder, but no longer a stranger, but an acquaintance. I’m not trapped on a one-way street, as now resistance is acquainted with me. 

I have resisted. 

My steps didn’t cease. 

My breath didn’t quicken or falter.

I simply kept walking.

*****

May we recognize the resistance crossing our paths.

May we have confidence to choose how to handle the obstacles in our days.

May we know when to walk, run, pause, or turn around.

May we know we are not alone when we face resistance or get a little wet.

3 thoughts on “keep walking

  1. Thank you so much Helen. This is definitely amessage for the season I am going through. I may have to change my strategy but that is ok. I may have to consult another yet again that too is OK

    Like

  2. Helen, your gentle words especially the 4 closing lines — yes gentle. So much of what we do it push ourselves and others to persist, pursue and press on. Sometimes it’s rest we need. A friend who gets “it.” (I had one of them last evening who isn’t afraid of another’s pain or tears). I am learning to be a gentle, compassionate observer of myself. It sounds like you are too:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your poetic prose this morning is exactly what I needed to read/hear. This pandemic is a long slog and some days are harder than others. I think my heaviest sadness right there now is a growing realization that parts of life will never be the same.

    Liked by 1 person

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