The following uses walking as a metaphor for understanding how our we use the present moment to evaluate the past and consider the future. It teaches us that self-awareness, which is a fundamental pillar of emotional intelligence, can be developed in all sorts of ways including poetry, art, stories, movement, embodiment and as we see here metaphor.
As I walk the hills I always find I am in a reflective space. It’s always time to think and explore the here and now, gain some perspective but still allows space for the past and time to think about the future. We know we cannot predict the future; we always know there will be some tough times, no doubt some of these sad, but there is something important about enjoying the moment, of experiencing today and the feelings it brings.
As I trudge up the hills, feel my heart beating and am outwardly panting, I feel alive for the moment and drink in the sights and sounds around me, the curlews flying around, the lambs bleating and frolicking, the wind that is quite chilly, the skies which are constantly changing above. I have no idea of what will arrive next around the bend in the path (I haven’t looked at the detail of the walk!) but it reminds me of life, we don’t know what is around the next bend or over the next brow – will it be a steep drop, a gradual decline or are we only part way up the hill, will the terrain turn from easy grass to a stony track or a boggy moor – it doesn’t matter, we will deal with that when we get there, but let’s just enjoy what we have now.
As I reach a point in the walk, I take a moment to look back, again what I see relates so much to life. I can see part of the path that I have walked but some is obscured by the contours of the land, the woods that I have walked through, the stony walls that zig zag across the hills, the fog that has rolled in since starting out. I remember what I choose to remember of the walk, however the whole walk is what has led to me reaching the point I am at. It has presented challenges, I have chosen how I respond to this – whether they becoming a defining moment of the walk is my choice. We cannot change our pasts, but we choose the elements and learnings from our past that we take forward. Sometimes it’s important to be reminded of the challenges and to know what motivated me to continue and how I overcame these. Looking back has importance in life, but choosing how to use this is of greater importance.
It’s now time to trudge on. I do know that I am as prepared as I can be for what is around that next bend, I am carrying what I need to be safe however I am always on the lookout for additional knowledge or tools, that will increase my ability to deal with that next bend however there will always be a new learning either from looking back, or dealing with something that happens in the future. Again such a parallel with life!
Sharon Outhwaite – Consultant, TWBC