One Step at a Time

The thing about walking, it happens one step at a time. Life happens one step at a time, one moment after another. Learning happens one lesson at a time, often times one life lesson after another.

The thing about life is that you can have goals and set your path to reach your goals, but things happen, change occurs, and each day your path changes. Each day begins a new path. Did you notice that? It’s one transition after another, yes?

Today, I walked up a mountain on a path. I entered a Summit Challenge race at Stratton Mountain, VT. My destination was clear: the summit. On this day, as is often the case, many other people shared this path with me. Yet each step was unique. With each step, I had to decide whether to step on a loose stone, in a wet patch of grass, or on some solid gravel. I had to avoid ditches and other people. Each step took effort; each step took practice; each step was uncertain. But with step, I made decisions, chose which path within the path to take, and stepped forward, one step after another, trusting that I would find my way.

This summer, I resigned from a job, a job I loved, working with people I loved. It was just time for me to take my next step. Did I have intention? Yes… I had goals and a vision. Did I know where my next step would land? No… as always, each step is uncertain. But, I resigned anyway, and stepped forward, trusting that I would find my way.

I find it remarkable sometimes that when you have clear intention, when you take definite steps forward, trusting yourself and your intuition, new paths become visible… What it looks like at the summit, what you experience when you reach your “goal” is never clear until you get there. What is clear is that I just need to take the next step… and the next step becomes clear… one step after another.

Is it our tendency to want to know what it looks like at the top, to be assured of things being a certain way at the end of our path? Yes… it is our tendency, isn’t it? But, I believe, that with practice, we can focus on each step, trust in ourselves as we take the next step, and with clear intention and awareness, we will find our way… to the “summit.” This way requires a balance between holding on to what is comfortable, safe and familiar, and letting go and being open to the discovery of a new path. Each step becomes an adventure, an adventure guided with a manageable level of risk, an adventure guided by who you are and who you want to be with your next step, and the decisions you make.

Sometimes, it is hard for us to let go of previous steps. Sometimes, we still live in the moments of previous steps… the steps that led us to here, where we are now. Should we even try to let go? I think letting go is possible and desirable. But, we will continue to remember our previous steps, yes? The trick is finding a way to appreciate all of our previous steps, good and bad, realizing that we are where we are now because of those steps and outside influences, and we have the opportunity to decide with that awareness, what steps to take next. For me, this is where having an attitude of gratitude for all that has come before me, each previous step, each deviation, each changed path, makes it easier for me to take the next step with clarity. Learn from previous steps… and adapt as I take my next step.

It’s not about taking the right step and avoiding wrong steps, it’s about taking steps, walking your walk, with understanding and awareness of the present step, with clear intention and faith in future steps, and with gratitude and appreciation for all previous steps or experiences in your life.

In my opinion, if we can each take our own individual steps in this manner, supporting those around us as they take theirs and receiving support from those who offer to help us in ours, our journeys will be in a place of goodness and take us to a place that we desire to be, a place that we see in our mind’s eye as we step forward, one step at a time.

For me, this summer’s step was huge… and I’m still taking a bunch of mini-steps, some positive, some painful. Today, however, I was reminded that I need to keep stepping forward with my eyes toward the summit. The view from the top will be worth the climb. And the next summit will be clearer!

Thanks to Stratton Mountain for supporting me on the steps I am taking in my life today… and will be taking tomorrow.