Challenge and Calm

Can you have both? 

Gold and blue. 

Gold and blue. 


     I have two different routes I walk in the morning.  One is on a paved road.  It goes up and down but is smooth and clear.  The other is a narrow path cut through grass.  It is uneven, filled with rocks and holes.  It also goes up and down.  When I walk the first path I don't have to watch my feet.  I spend a lot of time looking at the clouds and the sky.  When I walk the second route, I look almost exclusively at the ground.  I have to, otherwise I will trip.  Sometimes on the second path, I will stop and look up.  Wow, it so beautiful being in the middle of nature, no roads or electric poles or cars or buildings.  And then I get back to it and look down again.

     I find when I walk the second route, although shorter, I am more out of breath and can feel my muscles working harder.  What I find I like about the second route is it occupies my mind without exhausting it.  It is more engaging than the first path so in a strange way more meditative.  I have to focus.  Over and over.  I can't really lose myself in thought due to the challenge.  And I like that.    I imagine it's much the same as the repetitive tasks our ancestors once did.  Tasks that required attention and focus but not ALL your attention.   Interesting intersection between something being challenging and yet also calming.   What in your life is both challenging and calming?

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