I do actually leave the Richmond/Twickenham area and like many at Easter I headed out to enjoy a few days camping in the Kent countryside. The picture you see was taken during this recent trip.
It’s early morning and there’s dew on the ground as a result of the hot days and the cold nights. My walk to the shower block was wet underfoot.
As I walked back to the tent I looked at my journey and was amused to discover that my straight line was anything but. I thought I was walking directly to the shower however I must have been unconsciously making adjustments that meant I wasn’t going there as directly as possible.
I was really curious as to why.
There were no obvious things to avoid – there were no physical areas to avoid, no tents that I was avoiding on privacy and comfort grounds, nothing standing in my way. No reasons that I can determine for not walking directly there. And yet there’s the clear evidence that I didn’t.
So something was happening that I wasn’t aware of.
Maybe I was avoiding talking to people at that time of the morning? Perhaps I didn’t want to engage socially so I unconsciously avoided them by taking a wider route?
Or were there rules in place about being far enough away from other campers that meant I automatically veered away from them? Rules that were instilled into me when I was young by my Grandparents when I went camping with them? I honestly don’t know.
Behaviour is an interesting and reliable guide. If we take the time to reflect and discover what we’re actually doing, as opposed to what we think we’re doing, then we may find that they are very different things. We can easily believe that we deal with things in particular ways, perhaps helpful and useful ways, and it’s only if we examine the consequences of what we actually do that we may discover that we aren’t doing things in the way we believed. It’s the actions we actually take rather than the beliefs we have about how we approach things.
It may well be that the choice of path you take is easier in some way – perhaps with fewer discoveries – but feels a lot safer for reasons you aren’t consciously aware of. And that may well be completely fine.
It’s always useful to discover your direction of travel, and knowing the path you’ve taken and the consequences will allow you to start to discover, and deal with, those things that are stopping you take the route you want.
In this case I still managed to reach my goal – the shower – but perhaps if my goal hadn’t been so clearly defined and so easy to see then who knows where I may have ended up? And all because I wasn’t aware of those things that were unconsciously in my way.
So take the time to examine what you actually do. You may not be aware of what you did, but you may be very aware of the consequences.
You can’t change the path you’ve taken so far. You can change the direction of the paths you have yet to take.