What The Fog Taught Me

The city I live in is nestled in a valley in British Columbia, Canada. There is a large lake, along which many communities have sprung.

It has been called the “Four Seasons Playground” and hosts diverse natural habitats – golf courses, ski hills, nature trails, and of course the lake itself.  Should we drive to visit friends and relatives in Vancouver or other outlying areas, we must travel across very high mountain passes.

Frequently on those highways, we travel through fog. Driving through the fog is scary. Terrifying even. It comes on suddenly, and at times is so thick that I have not been able to see even one car length ahead. At these times, the mind engages in “I wonder” – wondering by how much the drivers ahead have slowed down, while simultaneously wondering if the people behind will slow to my speed….. or whether we will lose sight of the lanes, or improperly navigate a turn…..you get the idea.

I have never been in an accident in the fog. I have never witnessed an accident due to fog. But I know how scary it is to be in it. My senses heighten. My eyes open a bit wider, using expanded peripheral awareness. My posture straightens, as if in ‘set’ position at a foot race. My muscles on alert, ready for sudden shifts in movement, waiting for the “go” signal. My ears even open, listening for the slightest cue that may help my failing  sight in this situation.

And I notice how this is a terrific metaphor for challenges in life. When you really can’t see ahead of you, and are taught to rely on simply this present moment. When everything seems to slow down, you become aware of every breath, when every sense you have is on alert. Where you place your trust in something bigger than yourself.  And allow this trust to guide you through to when you can once again see from a viewpoint of clarity.

You see, even in the densest fog, the road beneath me has not changed, the mountains, sun and sky continue to hold their place…. The single variable and often terrifying truth is simply that my perspective of everything has shifted, due to my limited vision in those moments.

And isn’t that how life is?  We are often reminded – suddenly and without the option of backing out or turning around – to surrender to the moment, to use other senses in lieu of what our eyes can see, to trust that the ground remains steadfast, and that, yes, we can navigate through this safely. Not comfortably perhaps, but intact.

In those moments, who is at our side, navigating through this with us, becomes extremely important.  There are times that the nervousness – or panic – of my passenger becomes palpable. It adds to my anxiety.  Other times, my passengers have gently, and often without a word, taken a deep, centering breath and I could feel their trust and positive energy adding an extra layer of nurturance and guidance through the fog.

I heard a speaker once say “Flowers don’t grow without stirring up the soil ”.

What flowers are waiting to bloom in your garden?

What will the fog teach you?

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