Direction in Adar

Life sometimes takes unexpected turns, and my life seems to be full of them right now. I have found that this blog has not been the right place for this part of my journey, although I have missed it.

With this new month of Adar, I am at least able to return and take stock.

I walk most weeks in Caratunk, a beloved Audubon Society refuge near to where I live. I almost always start out on the same path, and vary my route only based on the length of the walk I wish to take. I walk on the edge of a big field, and soon enter the woods where I quickly cross a stream and come to a pine grove. Next I cross the stream again and loop around to Monument Rock. The path then takes me back to the stream, where I can either cross for a third time, or continue right along its banks for a while.



This past Wednesday I walked this loop, taking in all the ice on the stream, the places where it was completely covered and the places of open water. I appreciated both the seen and the unseen movement. When I reflected my walk later, I pictured myself walking along with the flow of the stream, until I was startled to realize that the stream actually flows in the opposite direction!

Hunh. So interesting, and such a good metaphor.

Quite often recently, I have found myself thinking about how hard I try and how futile those efforts seem sometimes. I am worn out from these efforts, and even more worn out from being angry that my efforts don't seem to bear fruit. I am ready to find a different way. I am ready to stop wrestling so much, ready to stop fighting my way upstream, ready to stop walking against the current.

So I returned to my beloved Caratunk the next day and walked the same loop in the opposite direction. I was delighted to meet the stream and walk right along with it, both of us moving in the same direction. I had fun playing with making my pace match its gurgling progress. I felt lighter with this new intention, and I welcomed the shift within me.

I continued along, leaving the stream for a while, and when my path finally met with the stream again, I found again to my surprise that for a very short stretch, I was again walking against the current. So much for my fine grasp of the geography of Caratunk! So much for my grand metaphor!

Or maybe, actually, the back and forth is the true metaphor. Sometimes we get to go with the flow and sometimes we don't. The stream meanders on its path, my feet meander on theirs. We meet and separate and meet again. Sometimes we are sync, sometimes we are not. And it's all fine, it's all real, it all contains beauty.


Here, in Adar, I will continue to play with walking in the opposite direction from my habitual one. I will continue to seek out ways to release more into the flow. I will continue to seek out more help and more ease and more grace. And I am sure that I will also put in great efforts that may or may not work out the way I hope. I will continue to think I'm walking in one direction when really I'm walking in another. Through it all, may I rejoice in the variety, remembering that it is all present, it is all holy, and it is, it simply IS.

In this new month, I am grateful to be able to walk along the stream, no matter the direction.

Chodesh Tov.

3 Adar 5774 * 2 February 2014