Earlier this week, I told you a little story about me and a hill on a hot summer day. There was drama, there was intrigue…actually, maybe not much of either, but there was a point to it. Sometimes, the key to getting through a challenge is right under your feet. Rather than sizing up the scope of the mountain you’re climbing, the best approach to making it to the top might be to connect with the place where you are right now, and focus on taking the next right step, rather than all the steps ahead.
Seems as though you’re “no-fail” mindfulness for this weekend is a challenge within a challenge. Or, at least, about one.
We all have things we’re working through, at any given moment. Maybe it’s a blip on the screen of your day, or something that extends out over the whole day, week, or longer. Big projects, tough decisions, disappointments, losses, long drawn-out periods of waiting or uncertainty. We’re all in something, and if you’re not right now, then you have been at some point, and probably will be again.
The challenge for this weekend is to step out of the story, and into the present moment. Stop looking at the (perceived) distance to the mountaintop, and shift your focus to the ground you’re standing on right now.
- Start by bringing to mind a challenge that’s on your plate now. Maybe it feels big, or maybe not. The scope of the issue doesn’t matter for this exercise, just as long as it feels like a challenge to you.
- In your mind’s eye, picture yourself at the base of a hill or mountain, gazing up to the peak, where the solution/conclusion of your challenge sits waiting for you. Note in detail what that resolved space looks like to you, and how your body feels contemplating successfully reaching that point.
- Then, imagine that peak stretching farther out from you, becoming more distant than it originally appeared. Note the changes in your heartrate, and elsewhere in your body, as a result of that shift.
- Next, imagine the image of that peak coming closer to you, even closer than it originally was, appearing more accessible and realistic. As a next step. allow the image of the peak to return to its original place in the larger image of the hill in your mind.
- Then, shift your focus away from the peak to the ground between and beneath your feet. Observe the textures and colors of the earth, path or pavement you find there. See your feet or your shoes, and note as many details as you can about what you observe.
- Finally, in your mind, take a step forward, and watch the space between your feet grow as you do. Then do the same with the second foot, and then the first again. Keep taking steps, one at a time, noting as you do that you now have one less step to take to reach your resolution, no matter how close or far it may be from where you currently are.
Know that the distance of the peak (resolution) from where you currently are is always a matter of perception, and may shift over time, even as you feel you’re moving forward, or don’t. That’s ok. You’re not in charge of where the finish line actually is, because it may or may not actually exist. You are in charge of the step you’re taking right now, in this moment, which is always – whether it feels like it or not – a step forward.
Onward, and upward, this step at this time.