Shielagh Shusta Hochberg, Ph.D. - Personal Growth Throughout the Life Cycle
Meditations and Reflections

Where Does Your Path Lead?

Where does your path lead?
Do you follow in the footsteps of those who have passed this way before you? Do you take another route?
How do we know whether the tried and true will be right for us in terms of a particular challenge, or whether we must blaze a new trail?
These are challenging questions I cannot answer for anyone but myself. What I can suggest, however, as both a psychologist and a fellow traveler on the road of life in 2013, is that we consider our options, read the landscape carefully, and sometimes take the opportunity to try something new and unfamiliar, and at other times know to play it safe.
Perhaps that slice of smooth snow leading through the trees will bring us to a new vista, a pristine lake covered with ice and bounded by trees. That beauty may stop us in our tracks as we gaze at the frozen expanse. Some might venture across that ice on foot, snowshoes or skis, but unless we know that terrain, we might plunge through and into frigid water and perhaps perish. In our zeal to get out there, we might overlook the "Caution, Thin Ice!" sign along the shore. To ignore the wisdom others have shared would be a mistake, and not knowing the landscape sufficiently would be much too dangerous to contemplate.
Then again, that ice might be two feet thick and able to support not only many human beings but tools or equipment. Below is an ice-harvesting demonstration which was conducted in February only after the ice had reached seven inches in thickness. It had been scheduled for January and postponed because the ice was too thin.
The message
is that when unsure, we ought not rush headlong into potential danger but carefully assess the circumstances. Recently I saw a video of a fawn and his mother out on the ice. The fawn was up on all fours, but his mother had slipped down onto the ice and couldn't find purchase to get back up on her feet. The more she struggled the more she slid around. Both she and the fawn looked scared. Evidently someone had alerted the animal rescue service and soon help came in the form of a helicopter. The rescuer was unwilling to descend by rope onto the ice for fear it would not hold his weight. Most ingeniously, the pilot maneuvered the copter so the wind from its rotors pushed the two animals towards the shore where several waiting humans helped them off the ice and onto solid ground. There are so many such stories. A dolphin became tangled in fishing line and presented herself to a diver, even rolling over in place so he could free her from the strangling line. Such loving kindness.
Travel well,
watch the warnings,
trust the experts,
respect the elements,
and be kind to all beings.
 © Photos by Shielagh Shusta-Hochberg, 2013.

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