Keep Walking Forward

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“Life is a whole journey of meeting your edge again and again. That’s where you’re challenged; that’s where, if you’re a person who wants to live, you start to ask yourself questions like, “Now, why am I so scared? What is it that I don’t want to see? Why can’t I go any further than this?”

~ Pema Chodron

Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. The other day I was walking our dog around the neighborhood and as we turned a corner I saw another bigger dog playing in a yard ahead of us. My first thought was “Hmm, maybe we should turn around.” My dog is naturally interested in every dog we pass on our walks and sometimes these dogs we meet aren’t as friendly as mine.

So I turned us around. I thought, well “why take the chance of a scuffle when I could just backtrack home? Why ruin this nice walk with a dog fight?”

Then I remembered the quote above. What was I afraid of? A what if? I recognized that I’d taken a perfectly normal moment and created a completely fictional worst case scenario out of it. I’d let irrational fear change the course of my day.

My dog agreed.

We turned back around and continued on down the road. As we approached the other dog I felt a little tension inside as I prepared to hold my dog back and thought a little about how I might defend us both. Perhaps a karate chop kick or loud shouting? That thought made me laugh at myself again and I relaxed. Let’s roll, puppy.

As we passed the yard the other dog did make a playful run at us but it turned out that it was tied up and couldn’t reach us. The owner was sitting nearby and shouted out “He’s a big baby!” I laughed again to myself thinking “Yeah I was just thinking the same thing about me.”

So the point of this kind of embarrassing story is you gotta look fear in the face sometimes and walk right though it if you want to get anywhere in life. Otherwise you spend your time going backwards. Literally. Your edge doesn’t always have to be a jumping off a mountain kind of moment. It’s the little day to day moments that you turn away from that can make all of the difference. Even if it’s something as simple as walking past a barking dog. Just keep walking forward.

And now we will no longer speak of my hilarious dog walking stories. 🙂

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3 comments

  1. Great post! I know for myself, it really is the small fears, subtle but powerful, that will control my day if I let them. Usually, the worst we think can happen almost never does. And even if it does, it’s usually not nearly has bad as we imagined. The great thing is, the more “we look fear right in the face and walk right through it”, over time, fear will lessen its grip and free us up to move forward more easily!

  2. Right on! It is simply a matter of noticing the little places we let fear get in and turning toward it instead of away. Like you said, the angry dog in the yard is usually nothing more than all bark and no bite.

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