Brambles and Boundaries   2 comments

A few mornings ago, an otherwise buoyant walk among wild grasses and ancient oaks plummeted into disappointment when an all too familiar barbed-wire fence blocked my path.  Not only did the wiry barricade disrupt the hilly landscape, but I was startled to realize how it also spoiled my psyche. Uncharitable memories of former fences instantly leaked under my mind’s unguarded door: the times I’d been jabbed without provocation, or—in worse cases—when I’d suffered shredded jeans and bitten back for ignoring their steel-clawed warning.

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On this occasion, instead of leaving the scene and stewing in my own peppery broth, I decided to dedicate some mindful moments to my antagonist and me. Rose hips glowed red on both sides of the fence, and bird songs splashed among the branches above, oblivious of the sharp metal twine that had stopped me in my tracks. I just sat for a while and considered my alternatives . . .

like befriending the fence, accompanying it from hilltop to slough. Or handling only the smooth spots along the wires, taking time and utmost care to avoid the wicked spines while stepping over or through.  And hardest, but truest to song sparrows and wild roses: simply accepting the fence’s presence, and continuing onward, neither physically nor mentally grappling with the intended intimidation.  I ultimately tried that course (failing a couple of times before it started to take hold); then it wasn’t long before sunshine and floating clouds nonchalantly hijacked my surly mood.

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The story of the barbed-wire fence visits our daily lives in endlessly diverse ways, tripping us up in the grocery line, on the long commute, or especially in our over-busy minds. Where are the thorns in your life? And how do you successfully meet these sharp moments with care?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Posted March 27, 2013 by pjsisson in Uncategorized

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2 responses to “Brambles and Boundaries

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  1. What a powerful metaphor! I’m trying to apply the lessons I learned when practicing Aikido: to blend with an attack (or an obstacle) rather than resist. My sensei taught us to absorb and redirect the negative energy. If you do it well (which I rarely did!), you move away from the threat with grace and balance. It’s so, so hard to do, but what a difference it makes when I stop fighting and let things roll off. Thanks, Jill, for your eloquent reminder that the barbed-wire fences will always be there, but that our strength comes from how we deal with them.

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