A man and woman were hiking in a remote forest. They were hiking partners and often enjoyed these hiking experiences together. Along this particular journey they were having two very different experiences as the day unfolded.
The man was enjoying the sites, listening closely to the birds singing along their path. The man had seen two rare birds that he was hoping to see already. During the hike his attention was repeatedly drawn to various happenings around them. Some of the most fascinating natural phenomenons he’d ever seen while hiking in the woods.
He was thoroughly enjoying the smell in the air and the way the breeze felt against his skin. His skin was slightly moist with sweat from the days warm sunshine. He noticed the sun shining through the tree tops and how amazing the rays appeared as they shot down to the ground around him. He gazed upon many different types of creatures who lived in the forest and watched how they seemed to be so content in their lifestyles.
The woman, equally experienced in hiking, noticed nothing that the man had witnessed. She could hear the birds, but they did not sound nearly as pleasing to her. She seemed to look too late to catch the wonderful creatures her partner had caught a glimpse of. She seemed to be a bit distracted. Moody even.
Though she did not notice the great things her partner saw, she did notice plenty of things that were getting under her skin. For instance, the way her shoe was rubbing the side of her foot wrong or the battle she seemed to be having with her pants twisting out of place ever so slightly. It appeared that the more things she noticed that frustrated her, the more things there were to notice. Small stuff like dropping things and missing her step. One after another she counted the things that seemed to be going wrong or things that contributed to what was shaping up to be a bad day.
The hikers were making their way down a scenic path they had never hiked on before. Both seeming to have very different experiences in spite of walking side by side. Suddenly, both felt their stomachs shoot upwards as they fell straight down. Startled and jolted they both hit the ground with a thump. The hole was lit enough for them to see around them. The entire hole was visible and nothing but dirt and rocks.
The woman immediately began crying, completely terrified at the thought of being stuck in a hole in a remote place that they would likely not be found. Especially deep inside of a big hole in the ground. After enough thinking about the possibility of not being found, more thoughts began coming to her. She thought about the family that was waiting for her to return and the home she wished to be back in right about now. She thought about all of the things she wished she had taken care of before this trip that now seemed would remain loose ends forever more. She thought of many things, none of which made her feel any better about the situation she fell into.
The man, though equally as dazed and confused, did not jump to thoughts of deprivation, despair, or sadness. Rather, he found himself quite entertained by the new experience. He’d never been to the bottom of a deep hole in the ground. He noticed many things around the hole as he gazed along the cold dirt sides. Various types of insects moving in, out and around the dirt. Rocks of various shapes and sizes sticking out of, and buried into the neatly packed dirt walls. He was too amused by the different spectacles around the hole to give any thought to the possibility of not escaping.
After a few minutes of looking around and catching their breaths, the couple looked at each other. The man quickly noticed how distraught his friend appeared. The woman took comfort in her partners calm demeanor. The woman began digging at the sides of the hole. Swiping her hands quickly at the dirt, sweeping away small portions at a time, the woman dig frantically at the sides of the hole apparently looking for an escape. The more she dug, the more she realized this was a hopeless method. Those feelings of despair she was feeling before, began to intensify as she continued digging to nowhere.
While small pieces of rock and clumps of dirt were being hurdled around the hole, the man was satisfied with his site seeing and began pondering a way to escape the deep hole. After a couple minutes, the man was still not sure how they might escape, but his mood hadn’t changed much and he was still finding things around him to keep himself entertained. While watching a pair of millipedes seem to race each other towards a crack in the dirt, his eyes were drawn to a divot in the wall. The indentation seemed plenty deep enough to get a foot into and not too high off the ground for him to reach. As he stood to walk towards the spot, his eyes wandered upwards and he noticed several more divots going up the wall. They seemed to be purposely placed in the staggered order they were in. Hanging down over the edge of the hole were some vines. Conveniently, the vines fell in line with the footholds carved into the wall. He placed his left foot into the first divot to test his weight and with relief he found it to be very solid. He then used his hands and other foot to begin a climb to the top of the hole.
The woman looked up in time to see him clear the opening of the hole. She was astonished that he found a way out. She was also still clueless how he managed to do it. She looked to the man, pleading for his help. He had no way of assisting her out of the hole from the top. There were no ropes or ladders to use, so he told her what he did to reach freedom. He instructed her every step of the way and helped her get her feet and hands in the right place. When she was close enough he grabbed hold of her arm and eased her out to safety. The two embarrassed and shared the excitement of making it back to their path.
The two of them learned something very important that day. They learned that everyone falls off the path every once in awhile, but how quickly you end up back on your path depends on the mindset you decide for yourself. Focusing on circumstances that don’t feel good to think about has a way of trapping you into those feelings. Pushing you deeper into a hole. Exerting energy on actions that are leading you nowhere. Finding better feeling things to give your attention to can free you and get you to the surface where the possibilities are endless. Things become more clear and decisions are easier. Action is effortless and every step is valuable. Explore the best feeling path and feel your way to the top of your emotions.