Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Brief Break From the Rules

Lunch break from the highpoint of the Animas Mountain Trail
Durango, Colorado - May 24, 2011

For some unknown explanation, this week dawned with absolutely no motivation to blog.  There you have it, a true confession.  The weekend was exhausting and Monday was a trying day for reasons that shall remain private for now.  But it's funny how this blogging thing works.  At least for me, even when I don't want to, I still want to.   Does that make any sense to anyone else??   So I decided to take a quick break from the Diet Rules to Break posts you can find here and here.   Today, I'm going to write what's on my heart.

Shortly after I began this blog in May, 2010, I borrowed the idea of a daily picture from my friend, Margie, who blogged at My Healthy Living Through Weight Control, and was my first follower.  Two days after writing the post to which I linked above, she and her husband, Bruce, were killed by a suicidal driver while on their daily early morning walk.  I still miss her every time I sit down to write a post and will always honor her with my daily pictures.  The pictures I choose each day are not random, but carefully selected to either go along with what I intend to write or at the very least, reflect my mood that day. Which leads to the picture with this post as it does BOTH of those things!

I am sensing so much struggle amongst my friends in BlogLand and to a certain degree, in myself.  It seems every day, I move through my reader and see someone else having such a hard time of it.  For some, it is lack of motivation.  A journey that just seems so long and the knowledge that once the goal is reached, the journey doesn't end, it just changes!  For others, it is a myriad of pressures from without over which they have no control, but can't help but effect the mind so involved in the journey within!  Some have suffered devastating illnesses or accidents to family/friends and are having to shuffle lives with sudden caregiving responsibilities and lack of control over food choices (we all know that sitting in a hospital room is one of the WORST places to try and eat healthy) while others are dealing with personal challenges that require trying new meds that may help the illness, but carry the depressing side effect of weight gain.  I know of one friend who has just moved from one state to another and is missing the support group she left and facing the daunting task of finding another.  Another is waiting word on whether a proposal she submitted will be funded or not.  If it is, it could have huge ramifications on the remainder of her career.  And I could go on and on.

Every one of these have a name and a blog.  And as I thought of this, I remembered the picture Mr. B took at our lunch break the day we hiked this trail.  Some thoughtful trail maintainers had hauled that wonderful bench three miles up more than 1000 feet for the enjoyment of hikers for years to come.  I remember sitting there and pondering the number of paths I saw laid out in front of me.  And I remember thinking that on that day in May, I knew someone on every one of those paths.

The same holds true this morning.   I am grateful that today I can also name friends in BlogWorld who are very much on the straight and narrow path you see winding down the middle of the picture.  Yes, this summer has held a curve or two like you see in the upper part just before the road disappears, but they've held fast to their plan and the curve did not derail them.  They are an encouragement to me because I know their stories and I know it is NEVER easy.  

The road to the left of the straight one wound through some hills and valleys, but comes back out on the main road.  We all take that side road from time to time, but we find ways to negotiate the hills and valleys, we never get totally lost and pretty soon, find ourselves back on the road to our destination.

But oh my, look at the river to the right of the straight road.  As far as I could see from behind me to the view from the bench, it wound and wound and wound.  You could see how it had carved its way for decades along THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE!  And I realized that the river will never connect to the straight firm pavement of the highway.  It will go under it, it will weave around both sides of it, but it will NEVER join it.  And if we happen to be on the river path, we can never get to the straight path without pulling ourselves up out of the water and walking, crawling or running to join the straight road that was carefully planned by experts to follow the BEST route that avoids the most danger.  

Every one of us is on one of these paths.   I am so encouraged by those who strengthen me as they work their way down that path towards their goal looking neither right nor left at other alternatives, just looking ahead at the goal.  I see others who are off the main route for whatever reason and struggling through the hills and valleys trying to find their way back.  They've been on that straight road and can see it beside them.  They've just got to keep motoring on until they find the place where they can rejoin the highway.  And finally, I see those in the river.   Some are close to drowning and begging for a life preserver.  Sadly, we can encourage from the banks, but this is one time, the life preservation techniques can only be administered from within.  The longer we allow ourselves to be carried along the path of least resistance, the more exhausted we will become and the harder it will be to pull ourselves out of the water and climb to the straight path.  

Yes, I thought all of those things as I sat there that day and truthfully, I never intended to write about them, but they came back to me this morning as I read even more blogs of people that I care about who are struggling.  It is no secret to this blog that I am a Christian and am very much of the praying sort.  And I don't mind telling you that on that day, as well as this day, lots of prayers were said for some very specific people who are struggling.  From up there, those paths all looked so close together and as if it would be so easy to move from one to the other.  I often wonder if that isn't the way God sees us and thinks, "child, it isn't that hard.  YOU are the one making it hard.  The paths are close.  Find the one that gets you to your goal the quickest.  Don't make it so hard.  It doesn't have to be."  I know not every one reading this follows my belief system and that is so o.k.   But I also know you can look at my vantage point in that picture and see how easy it would be to get from one path to the other.  It just takes some effort and determination. 

Where am I today?  I'm currently negotiating some hills and valleys that are personal, but it effects the way I eat.  But I can see the intersection where I can rejoin the straight path and I'm almost there.  Today is better than yesterday.  And yesterday was better than the weekend.  I'm not going to have the July results for which I'd hoped, but the valleys got in the way and I am happy to say I stayed to the left and didn't fall in the river!!

Like I said, this was from the heart.  It may not have made much sense to you, but it makes perfect sense to me.  If you saw yourself in anything I wrote, you were probably on target, because most every sentence I wrote was directed to someone who is on my heart.  You can't "live" in this community and not care.  If you don't, you probably shouldn't be "living" in this community of wonderful Bloggers.

On which path are you traveling today?  I may know where you are, but others may not, so tell me and in doing so, you may find some new friends.

Diet Rules To Break - Rule #3 Coming Very Soon!


  1. So I first saw the picture and thought how much I loved it. And only after that initial reaction did I get to reading and discover your amazing analogy. (You know I love a good analogy.) I was also struck by this because I have also found that many of the bloggers I follow have been struggling. And I sooo wish I knew what to say that would somehow help. I have such a desire to reach out and do that for others in the blogworld, as has been done for me. Yes, this is an amazing community. That is what I love most about blogging. And as part of that community I want so much to shore up others if I can.

    As for my own path... I have no idea. Since I am "maintaining" now, I feel that the path should be level. But because I still realize that the number is not my goal or my battle and I clearly many eating issues and still a long way to go on the "journey," I feel a bit like that path is in the mist, swirling around my head as I try to make my way. And I very much suspect that I will be on that path or another for the rest of my life now. Not sure if that is a horrifying thought or just an acceptance of the truth.

  2. Oh I love that photo!!!!

    My path gets redefined sometimes, but I think that's what this is all about --- seeking balance, constantly correcting and adjusting. This week, I'm simply grateful to be alive (I'll blog about that on Saturday) following a near death experience and a plane that almost crashed. It helps me realize life IS short and can be taken away in an instant. There's so much danger out there that it's ridiculous for me to not take excellent care of my body through proper eating, adequate exercise and sleep, etc.

  3. Beautiful post, and beautiful picture. You really spoke to me on several levels, Sharon. I've rarely been on the straight and path, and certainly not for a very long time (read: years). I'm definitely negotiating hills and valleys, but the real truth is that my challenges are currently from within - blessedly not from external circumstances. The path of least resistance is deeply grooved in my neural pathways and will require hard work to reroute. I believe and know it's possible to do that rerouting, but it will indeed feel perilous in places.

    The process requires more than a morning's determination that erodes slowly after the work day ends. Sitting through the firing of those well worn neural impulses is tough and requires dedication, determination and hard work. Thanks for a wonderful thought provoking and loving post.

  4. Sharon,
    I have loved the Breaking the Rules series, but I have to say that this is a much needed (for me) break. I read this post with tears in my eyes. I needed to read it. Thanks for being the messenger I needed today.

  5. Sharon,
    Coming out of "lurkdom" today to stand and applaud both your picture and the thoughts shared in the blog. Timely and inspired!

  6. Beautiful post!

    My path is a swerving one. I have moments of clarity, peace and joy ~ I'm on the mountain top. Then I'm flat on my face. Had more ups and downs lately. The greatest thing is....I've not quit. I'm still here!!

    Today I am procrastinating to get my exercise done. I should be doing it now. I will close now and get it done!

    Have a great day my Friend! Keep focused!

  7. Sharon...this is the most amazing post and has moved me to tears. As I read this I saw myself as one in the river desperately trying to pull myself out and back onto the main road. I'm tired and fearful at times that I don't have the strength. What I do have is determination to not give up.

    I also feel confirmation in what you said about the Lord saying it doesn't have to be so hard. I felt so strongly last night that I'm worrying about so many things that it's literally pulling me down. I'm carrying a burden that's not mine to carry. I realized that I need to concern myself with today and only today.

    Thank you friend for such a heart felt post. It has encouraged me greatly!

  8. Before I even read your post I was amazed at that picture. Wow, what an amazing view! I loved your analogies you drew from it. It really reminds me of "Lehi's Dream" which is in the scripture of the Book of Mormon and is about a dream of a prophet named Lehi that is so similar to what you described with the path and the river. I love the symbolism!

    Thanks for thinking of me and referring to me. You are such a deep and thoughtful woman and I feel like I get to know you a little more with each post. The way you see things and how you truly think and care for others is quite inspiring! If we could only see our path always from that vantage point!

    Thanks again for your thoughtful and God Bless!!

  9. First I love the photo. The valley coming out of Durango is so beautiful to drive on!

    My journey as it relates to weight loss is a winding road and it even contains some u-turns! I use to think weight loss had an ending when you got to your goal weight. I now know, that it not true.
    There is no "finish" line for me. The path is not always easy to navigate. Sometimes my compass becomes confused and I lose my way. Once I find my direction it is often going a different way.

    Different isn't bad, it's just different.

  10. GREAT post! I was just thinking of Margie this morning - I actually saw another blog comment & thought "oh, that's MARGIE!" but it was another Margie. I miss her posts also, but I'd just found her blog when she died.
    I love your analogies - and the thought that you put into your posts. Thank you for sharing!

  11. PS Sharon, that was my comment above here -- long story, but I signed in with an old address. Sorry!

  12. Awesome analogy! I tend to hop from path to path, and sometimes just strike out across open country. (Not always a good idea.LOL) As long as I keep moving, the vultures won't get me. :)

  13. I love this post and am printing it out for my inspiration book, if you don't mind.

    I am on one of the side roads. Every experienced traveller knows it's the side trips that keep the journey interesting!

    There is indeed a lot of struggle in Blogland, but hopefully good will come from it. We have to experience the difficult times to appreciate the good ones, sometimes.

    Thanks for making us stop and think about getting to our destination, no matter what the route. ;-)