You Were Designed for This!
Everytime I’m in the wilderness, something simple hits me as astonishing. Winding down a trail from a couple days and nights in my favorite high sierra landscape, I spotted a row of willow saplings, taking root in the most precarious and unprobable places: a tiny crack in a giant granite boulder.
Willows like low, damp stream banks and snow-melt saturated meadows. In this case, they obviously found everything they needed right there, because these saplings were a couple feet tall, and entirely lined the length of this cracked boulder, for maybe 15 feet, like a vibrant little green fence.
Something about this sight filled me with a sense of freedom and real possibility, and reminded me how opportunistic life is for all living things. Despite the odds, the trees, lacking any fear or self-consciousness seemed to be saying: “F yes, I was designed for this!” There are a lot of things, obviously, that make humans different from willow saplings. In that moment though the difference that stood out to me was peoples’ ability to worry and consider catastrophic outcomes.
Everyday we are confronted with the many choices of how to survive and thrive. In most cases, we’ve already chosen what we want whether consciously or unconsciously – what we want to root into – and then waste precious energy worrying, and hold ourselves back from diving in to what we’ve already started. The material world is one of limits, sometimes not ideal, and confining in some mind-boggling ways.
Whether its courageously, or through not committing, or waiting, or diving in impulsively then changing our minds…we are always orienting ourselves to the tasks at hand.
The human brain, in attempt to protect itself, is amazingly skilled at predicting as many possible future perils as possible. To worry is to put on the brakes. It is also a way to contract emotionally, attempting the same action but with only half the brilliance and power. Its an important thing our psyches do, but in myself and most people I know, it has a tendency to be over-active and get in the way of what we’re actually up to.
What if we had the self-awareness and self-discipline (not required of a willow) to take our fearful projections of important circumstances such as a relationship, ending a relationship, starting or ending a job or project, making your move, and see that fear for what it is: a protective mechanism, not the truth about the future.
We all have that rough, beautiful possibility somewhere in our lives, to dig in deeper, to stay with it 5 more minutes, 5 more months, to feel uncomfortable and not panic about it, to start something growing in an unlikely or unknown terrain, or find that new terrain. You were designed to expand into your life, to relax in the wildness and imperfection of it all, to dig in and complete whatever you want to complete. We are always allowed to pull back and change course, to feel afraid and acknowledge it. But what if you told yourself, about that thing in your life: I was perfectly designed for this! Whatever is happening, whoever you uniquely are, send your roots down into the grit of it, let your branches expand out, and see what happens next.