It was not supposed to be a long walk from school, and every evening I made it to the meeting point on time and as required. I was very resentful however. I found the road alongside the highway to be long, winding, dusty, and crowded.
Once, I left school needing a washroom and promising myself to get to my destination in time-I couldn’t be late, you see. I have never mentally attacked and simultaneously apologized to myself as much as I did that evening, promising myself better care in the future, and to listen to my thoughts first time around. I never did catch that lesson for many years to come by the way.
That being said, I find myself paying closer attention to my first thoughts more often than I previously did, as I am now discovering that first thoughts, instincts, suppositions, that quiet voice…is right.
On a different day, I was blessed with a companion for part of my journey. Turns out that one of my classmates, and good friend, needed to walk some ways to meet her own parents. I was grateful for the reprieve; someone to indulge me in conversation.
But I distinctly remember complaining the half-length of my journey that she shared with me; about the length of the walk, the people I meet, the dust, the heat, and traffic. I did not realize until I started complaining, just how much I resented my walk.
Well this good friend listened and laughed about my animated rant, before we separated and she went her merry way (I didn’t hear a sigh from her but that could have been because I didn’t allow her the opportunity).
My journey involved walking around a park on the very busy highway I mentioned. This particular evening, after my friend and I parted, I remember asking God why He would allow this kind of journey for me. More than anything, I was always physically tired by the time I got to my destination.
Now this park sits on slopping land. From the top of the slope, one can see the capital city’s Central Business District. Unexpectedly, I stopped and stood at the top of this hill and lay against the railings, taking a moment to look down at the panoramic view below.
I could see the green unfold below me, the trees, people walking up and down selling small food items (wrapped roasted peanuts and maize), and the lake below. I could also see the highway to my right, the busy never-ending highway that awaited my decent along its sidewalk toward the city center and my family’s meeting point.
I was silent as I looked at my city at the bottom of the slope. I was awed as only nature and physical developments amaze me. I lived in a remarkable city. I looked down at the actual park, noting my fellow citizens walking about their business or lying down on the grass, relaxing with a blade of grass between teeth.
At that moment, my eyes began to trail a path that started not far from where I was standing. It was a well-used path that cut through the beautiful green-layered steps of the park, right down to the heart of the city, and to my destination.
I remember simultaneously thinking no way! and Oh my God, yes!
How had I missed this? I was a very happy girl, walking down this path, arriving long before schedule at my destination. I was also humbled and mentally named the spot Map-Place, as a tribute to the place in which I was shown my map to get home. Clearly could have been more creative, but that name came to me at that time and place, and it has always remained.
I think to this episode in my life when I am staring at a person or issue too hard trying to understand something. It comes to mind when I am losing faith, beginning to doubt. It comes to mind when I am thinking my road is too long and hard to follow.
Whenever it does I find myself mentally sitting back and stepping out. I am then provided with an aerial view of the person or situation, and in that moment am able to understand so much more of what I am facing that I undoubtedly always find a map (solution) to get home (outcome).
In many instances, I have brushed this recurring memory off, and chastised myself for bringing solutions that worked when I was twelve or thirteen into my life close to two decades later. In doing so, I have caused myself untold grief in worry, despair and/or worse, instant, and blinding action.
When I haven’t taken a moment to be silent I’ve given into base instincts. This includes a fly in quick and hard approach in an attempt to control the situation.
Many times we have more questions than answers, and are searching when we really have no way to pinpoint what it is that we are seeking. Silencing our minds is literally telling our thoughts, questions, and voices to shut up. We are telling our Ego to check out so that the Spirit may check in. This is difficult to do for we subconsciously try to control both our exterior and interior environments.
Some of us are scared of what mental silence will bring to mind for it will demand action. Much as we tell others and ourselves that we are ready, we may not be ready for any kind of change at all. What we want is what we would like, and to have it done our way.
But if we silence our minds we find out so much more than we thought we knew. In fact, we discover just how much our assumptions and fears closed off amazing doors of opportunity and fulfillment on our behalf.
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