A few days ago, I hiked the Yetman trail. It is 11 miles out and back. I hike about 5 to 6 miles of the trail. The trailhead starts on the far west side of Tucson at the end of Grant Road. It is one of my favorite hikes. The terrain is moderate and follows several washes. It’s rare to come across other people. Wildlife is abundant. It is extremely quiet. About 1.5 miles into the hike, you will come across the Bowen Stone House.
Sherry and Ruby Bowen built their homestead in the early 1930s. I consider it remote. I have to imagine how remote it was when the Bowen family built their farmhouse. In the ’30s, Tucson had a population of about 32,000 people. Today the population is over 540,000.
Something convinced these people to move into the middle of nowhere. Water was scarce. There are few natural resources. Food was not readily abundant. In the summer, the temperature can quickly reach over 100 degrees. This homestead was not an oasis of comfort and easy living.
Something, some impulse, convinced the Bowens to build this ranch. They lived there for 14 years. In that time, their property grew to 2000 acres. They were committed to creating a life in this very remote part of Tucson.
We all have a singular point of view. It is sometimes based on empirical evidence. Sometimes not. That point of view does not always serve us.
Many times life intervenes in the best of our plans. Often the circumstances of our lives force us to confront change. But, unfortunately, that change and the resulting outcome are only sometimes agreeable and often quite uncomfortable.
I find that I can’t get what I want if it doesn’t exist. That could be the cooperation of nature. The love and affection of my partner. Improvement or change in my employment. It doesn’t matter what it is I can’t get, the outcome is the same. The result of those encounters tends to create resentment. In turn, the resentment only enforces a sense of separation, separation from life itself. I am left feeling like I live in opposition to the life around me. Yet despite those intense feelings, most of us still want what’s often unattainable. Just look around. It’s not hard to see people flailing around, creating more chaos because they can’t get what they want. They see themselves as separate from their very own lives. Just look at what is on the news.
It is easy to keep the status quo. However, the feelings that emerge from those situations often force us to make hard decisions. When I find myself confronted with a difficult decision, I need to continually ask myself if I am in Integrity with myself. I look to validate, trust and acknowledge the gift of my life. I need to ask myself, am I acting for my highest good?
Alexander von Humboldt said, “Everything in life is interaction and reciprocal.” For me, that is a great explanation of Karma. Interaction and reciprocity are one way to understand how we move through life. What we bump into and how we interact with it.
It can be challenging to trust the unfolding of your life. Some decisions are just exceedingly hard to make. It can feel like your entire being wants to rebel. At this point, I would feel worse about keeping things as they are than not taking a risk for my happiness. I find myself needing to stand up for the truth of who I am.
If I can’t live with an open heart and an open mind, I am left with resentment. As Malachy McCourt said, “Resentment is like taking poison and hoping that someone else will die.” I certainly don’t want to live my life like that.
Amidst the chaos and uncertainty of life, I remain open to Grace and the gift of my life.
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