There is one mile path in Southern Rhode Island where I love to walk as often as possible. At one point in the loop trail, I always become keenly aware of the ground below my feet. It is flat. It is compact. So incredibly solid! For that last part of the walk, I often take off my shoes to feel the earth more closely and open myself up to what the path might say.
About a year ago, I came up with the idea of closing my eyes and imagining walking that path with different friends and family members. What would the ground feel like with each different traveling companion? What would it look like? How would it feel? I have continued this exercise over the past year, finding it a very powerful tool to see relationships more clearly. Here are some examples.
When I closed my eyes for the first time to image walking with a particular person, the beautiful dirt path in the woods turned into slippery, wet, broken glass. Every time I tried to take a step, the glass would shift in unpredictable directions making it impossible to move forward. So precarious. Dangerous. Impossible!
Sometime later, I thought about walking with a long time friend. With that person, the path turned into a wide, whimsical space that looked and felt more like a field than a path. It was full of colorful, imaginary gasses each having different colored seeds on the ends. No particular direction. No hurry. Full of whimsy. A lovely walk.
When I closed my eyes to think about another person in my life at the time, I saw absolutely nothing. There was no ground. There was no path. Nothing to think about. Nothing to see. White. Void. Completely empty.
With another walking companion, the ground feels unexpectedly solid. Completely at ease, I am able to look away from my feet to see and explore all the interesting things on the forest floor in every direction. Comfortable. Full of life. An easy path.
During our lives, we should feel blessed to find ourselves walking with very different friends and family members. I have and I love that! This experiment has helped me see things very clearly over the past year and perhaps it might be helpful for you as well.