Before breakfast every day I take the walk that starts my motivation for the day to come. The beauty all around me fills me with nature’s own inspiration. This is nature showing me what is beautiful and worthwhile about life. This morning I used my iPhone to capture some of the wonders that I encountered on my walk. In this article I attempt to explain what they mean to me.
Spring is a wonderful time of year and my walks are filled with the beauty that abounds in my own back yard. At the start of my walk I journey down this sunken lane. It is actually part of an ancient footpath that pilgrims used to travel in ancient times to visit important religious sites. There is something about this path that connects me to my forebears. I sense the connection as my feet follow in the footprints of those who went before me in search of meaning for their lives. I value that sense of connection because it links us to the search that has gone on for all time – the search that pulls us forward.
Then, as the path moves into the woods where my dogs love to play at hunting, the cow parsley grows in such abundance that its whiteness amidst all the green suggests a new clean beginning to my day. Here I love the disorderliness of the fallen trees and the look of disorganisation. It somehow makes me value creativity. It suggests that order is not always the most important point in our lives. Yes I understand the need for discipline and for order, but it is often only when discipline is broken and rules are not observed that human beings make breakthroughs and find that there is more on the other side.
We travel on past the lovely yellow archangels. They do not grow as profusely as other plants, but they add their own unique colour and in any case angels are meant to be rare. Not many yellow plants grow where the trees are thickest. Sometimes primroses grow here but they tend to like more light than the archangels. Are these angels trying to tell us something. Perhaps they are saying that there is light even in the darkest places. And isn’t life a bit like that? Sometimes we need to go to the darkest places in order to discover important secrets. Gold has been discovered in dark, damp caves where stalactites and stalagmites abound like temples in the dark. So why should not these archangels be telling us to search and keep on searching until we find some light.
As I walk up to the higher part of the wood where the bluebells grow in such profusion I once again begin to wonder, “is is more important in life to reach a destination or simply to journey well?” Is it the journey that makes us? Is it the journey that forms our character? Is it the journey that gives us the good feelings that elevate us? Are the places we visit and the people we meet and the thoughts that we uncover and the ideas we have what make life enervating and worthwhile? Are they more important than the monuments we try to build with our lives? By monuments I mean the houses and the motor cars and all the other possessions and positions that we often use to define us. The monuments that we use to say to everyone else, “look at me. I am important. I have made it.” But does any of this matter? Do such mini-monuments make life a better experience?
Coming out of the woods I arrive in open fields of golden buttercups. Their spread of lovely yellow fills my soul with light, hope and energy for the day ahead. Yellow is my favourite colour, I find it energises me. Does that mean that I am motivated by the colour yellow or simply that light gives me hope? When there is light I can see where I am going. Is being able to see ahead more important than being able to see my destination? As I walk through the fields of yellow buttercups I cannot seem my home, but I know that is where I am going. I don’t need to see my house to know that I am travelling in the right direction. It doesn’t matter what my house is like, what is in it or what I will do when I get there. What matters is that I have somewhere to go that is meaningful for me. It is a place of shelter, warmth and the centre of much that I love in life.
So, what is it that really motivates me? I think it is to journey well and to enjoy the journey as progress. The aim is simply to experience that feeling of belonging, that feeling of love and being loved and that there is a space where such important feelings reside.
I may not have reached any “important” destination, but I feel that in many meaningful ways I am living the life I’d love to live.
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