Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Clearing

Nothing like a 70 degree Friday afternoon to head outside and clear the thoughts. After a early morning of basketball, classes and grading I headed out to my oasis.

In the woods behind our house there is a small, thin opening among the thick underbrush. This crack leads you to a winding path that is quickly becoming more and more concealed with the spring growth. While the path is enjoyable (intentionally), the opposite end of the crack is beautiful. The path opens up into a large grassy clearing that is surrounded by thick trees on all sides. This is my oasis.

For the past year I've been opening up this natural clearing of invasive thorns and saplings. To be able to go outside with a small ax in one hand, a machete (my man-knife) in the other is refreshing. There is a simple project in front of you, clear the brush. The harder you work to achieve it, the faster it gets done.  No thinking. No worrying. Just being in the moment. Me and my man-knife.

There is definitely something to be learned here. I am currently trying to figure out what in the world I should do now that my ideal, planned-out life is not so planned-out. As I go on my quest, this seems too important to ignore.

Here are my reflections from playing in the woods:

Pay attention to what you love doing. When do you work through a task and time stands still or passes without noticing? If you've played ball you've probably hit the "Zone", or "Flow" as Csikszentmihalyi coined it. Look for this in a job. For me, here is where I Flow: playing ball, problem solving, working outside on a project, coaching, teaching, counseling students in their life's path, working out, exploring...

So now that I've noticed what I love to do, I suppose it's just a matter of picking the 'right' path. Well, if I knew the answer and how to find it I would continue writing. 

Next time you hear from me I plan on telling you that I've picked up my man-knife and started cutting my own path.


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