I have lived in Georgia for a little over a year now and have visited more parks than I did in my entire life in the Garden State for over 50 years. How does that happen? A friend said it best,
“A Change in location can equal a change in mind.” -NCH
Never did I believe that breathing the fresh outdoor warm summer air while walking miles and observing the beauty in a wooded park would spark so many delightful thoughts.
This post is inspired by a trail in Tribble Park. When your mind is quiet, static, and at peace to wander, you will view the world around you differently.
Walking through the park, my intentions were to get a few miles in while taking in the natural beauty of the parkland. What took place surprised me. As I strolled along the trail, objects like the shapes of the trees, the colors of the leaves, and the brokenness of tree branches, triggered random but inspiring thoughts.
New Paths and Journey’s
Reflections: We set personal and professional goals. In spite of well thought out plans (or so we think), we truly don’t know where the path will lead us. Some paths are more familiar than others. The roads are narrow, wide, straight, covered with debris, and even lead to dead ends. We think we know precisely where we are going. But amiss, we end up in a new place.
At times, the surprising destination is wonderful. On the other hand, the landing-place is unanticipated. At that moment, we have a choice to give up and to end the journey or chose receive and accept God’s lesson and beget further growth.
What is important is that, on our journey, we pay attention to all of the elements. On this walk, I observed many beautiful components of nature, such as this magnificent and variegated leaf.
The vivid spotted decaying leaf was the brightest leaf in a pile. If I were daydreaming and not focusing on the details along the path, I would have missed it. Squatting and eyeballing the leaf, four ladies walked up. “What did you find? A snake?” Now that’s funny and boy did I laugh. I told them I don’t photograph snakes, I run from them. I pointed out the leaf to the women. They stopped to look and were also stunned by its beauty. Think about it. I walked over four miles in an extraordinarily wooded park and was able to find this beauty.
Here’s a closer look!
The leaf is beautiful right? The image is also a reminder of the beauty in so-called defects and of the charm in aging.
Underneath this oversized tree with split roots is a pathway for water to flow through. The day I took this picture, the area was dry; however, once it rains, water freely flows through the park along to this tree and under its thick and twisted roots.
Reflections: In life, we must learn when to plow forward, under or around, and when to break off in a different direction. The canal is natural. Created by nature… and by God. The tree made a bridge for which the water runs under. Allowing ourselves quiet moments to reflect on any given situation, will help us to make the best choices.
Reflections: Get rid of the baggage! Learn and unlearn. Not all learned behavior is good; even if you learned the behavior as a child and from an adult. It’s like money. Not all money is good money. Recognize what helps you. Recognize what harms your mental health and well-being. Then do something about it. Oprah says, “When you know better, you do better.”
Don’t be afraid to remove trappings, and people from your life and do so without all the fanfare. If someone in your life doesn’t support your goals, or perhaps they bring negative energy to your life, eliminate them from your life. There’s no need to call a soon-to-be former friend to make a formal declaration, just stop calling and responding. Eventually, they may call to ask why you stop calling. Be honest but not mean and tell them why but don’t negotiate.
The same goes for bad habits. Smoking, alcohol or substance abuse and, if needed, seek professional help. National Helpline Hotline (free, confidential, 24/7, 365-days-a-year treatment referral and information service, in English & Spanish, for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance abuse disorders).
Reflection: The dried pieces of tree trunks look like they have been precisely cut. Probably to protect park guests from falling dead trees. The stump remains. The stump can represent a distinct period in our life that may resonate feelings of failure, pain, anger, or joy and happiness. The stub within us is there for us to do what we choose. We can live with resentment, regret, remorse, hate, compassion, love, happiness, peace, faith, or with forgiveness in our hearts; we determine the method of reconciliation.
I read from termite-control.com, that termites in trees can create real hazards. Since termites eat wood from the inside, they can make a tree so unstable that it cannot support itself. If that happens, the tree dies. We are no different. Allowing emotions to internally harbor and fester is no different and can cause damage to our bodies, including our mental health.
According to the World Health Organization, poor mental health is also associated with rapid social change, stressful work conditions, gender discrimination, social exclusion, unhealthy lifestyle, physical ill-health, and human rights violations. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Perspective & Attitude
Reflections: Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Is your glass-half-empty or half-full? Like most, I can focus on what wrong and what I don’t like. However, I have so much more to be grateful for and so do you. I make a conscious decision to look up–not down, and to thank God every day for the tremendous volume of greatness in my life.
Whatever your situation, if you need to cry, pout, or complain, do that then come to grips with the fact that your situation could be worse. Someone else’s life is ALWAYS worse off than yours. See the good in your present spot and assess how you can make it better.
Reflections: Them damn fears! Ugh! This bridge right here is about overcoming fears and transcending to the other side. I fear heights. Even with my feet being just a tiny bit off the ground sends my heart into a triple beat. This unexplainable and horrible feeling creeps up my calves and travels to hamstrings into my rear gluts. I feel sick and jittery.
You know where you need to get to. An obstacle (fear) confronts you. Maybe you plan to obtain your GED, start or complete college, audition for a part, read your work at a Spoken Word event, or something else. Do you give up or confront your fear? I’ve confronted some of mine but I still have a few more to tackle. Since first sprinting across this bridge, I can now walk slower and alone. Each time I cross the bridge, it gets a little easier for me. Don’t give up!
Reflections: The base of this tree is one solid trunk. But as the tree grew, seven strong limbs sprouted. The cluster of limbs remind me of the ancient proverb that I heard often growing up, “It takes a village to raise a child.” As a child that means, everyone in the community, family, and non takes interest in the child. The strength of the village reinforced the values taught in the home. When you were caught in the streets doing good, your neighbor reported it to your parents. When you were seen behaving inappropriately, whoever witnessed your transgression, corrected you and told your parents. Ultimately, you were disciplined at home too.
NJ Senator, Cory Book said,
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Strength lies in numbers. While working on my Bachelors of Arts Degree in English, I worked a full-time job and had the responsibility of a young child, managing home life, including my relationship with my husband. I had my village of supporters and without their advice, wisdom, child-care services, love, and patience, I would have never had the opportunity to walk across the stage at Rowan University. Don’t go it alone; find your supportive network or your village and ask for help.
Reflections: Tribble Mill Park is a 700-acre park that has two lakes and one large meadow. The park has nearly 3 1/2 miles of paved and unpaved trails. When I first set out on the trail, I was unfamiliar with the path and, at times, felt uncertain. Since then, I have walked both the paved and un-paved surfaced trails. The non-paved was more challenging and it was easy to wander off the trail and to get lost. What I did notice on the trails were the benches.
The benches are a reminder to stop and to take a break. How often do you take breaks from your weekly routine of obligations? Unless you are literally running a marathon, you must set aside time to catch your breath and fully divert your attention away from your project. Find a quiet place that brings you solitude. Doing so will de-clutter your mind. You will think clearer and you will find solutions to some of your dilemmas.
Below are a few more of my favorite pictures from my walk. Since this writing, my husband and I have returned to the park only to discover new paths and I love it!
My son deep in his thoughts.
..undisturbed and unbothered by people.
Other cool pics. 🙂
I love how this tree is bent and ends atop the paved trail. But notice a few branches growing from the top of it.
Never grow too old to swing!
Pausing…. taking in the beauty.
The above video is unedited. The fantastic sparkles that you see are from the sun rays hitting the lake. The beauty of this video is also a reminder to sparkle to stay alive, to live intentionally, and to sparkle through as many days as possible.