Change might be good for the SOUL
From the second-story flagstone porch, I see “my” mountain. It’s small by mountain standards: just a 4.5-mile trail from sea level to the top where a ridgeline serves as a spine along the Santa Barbara coast. Every time I come to my retreat center, climbing the ridge has been my tradition. Some 12 years’ of a tradition. It takes a good four hours and along the way, I have plenty of time to think, observe, and just plain breathe. It’s a lonely trail: steep, heavily wooded, overgrown with bushes, and so very hot. But the view from the top is worth it. The three-days of subsequent muscle pain in my legs also assuages any guilt for remaining mostly sedentary for the rest of the time. Alas. This year, large posters placed at the trailhead warn of mountain lions within the area. Aggressive mountain lions have moved south since fires in Goleta destroyed their habitat. “Don’t hike alone. Have rocks in your pockets. Don’t run.”Are they nuts? No one is here to hike with me. Rocks in my pockets? Like I can hike with brick-size stones? Don’t run? Good luck. The warning continues: “They attack mostly from behind. Don’t take animals or children.” Great. The trail is narrow with blind corners. I can’t see ahead or behind me. At my size, I’d qualify as cat food. OK. I now have power walks and daily runs along the winding roads of Montecito. It’s not the same. That’s good. Time for me to break patterns. What a great metaphor for this time in my life, our workplaces, and our world. Maybe it is time to change: To sleep on a porch instead of a luxurious bedroom. To share a bathroom. To discover how little I really need and to be grateful in that revelation. Besides, I will find other mountains to explore. What change are you confronting?