Thursday, October 20, 2016

20. Walking in Extreme Heat

When I started this series, I had a rough outline of what each day's topic would entail. As with last year's series, the outline wasn't carved in stone. I built in room for new insights, space for the story to expand in ways that I couldn't anticipate. 
I have tossed out a few topics because when the time came to write them, other more important insights were waiting to be shared. I considered scratching today's topic since I've already dreamed up three extra posts that will come after the #write31days month is officially complete. But today's topic remains because as with yesterday's post, when I delved deeper I was able to find more metaphor and meaning—two of this contemplative's favorite things.

St. Louis summers can be soggy torture. The humidity is high, the sun shines bright, and some days there is no breeze to be found. I know dry heat, and such a thing does not exist in this part of the Midwest.

This summer I walked through the heat and humidity. If you had told me months before that I would have powered through those high temperatures, I would have reminded you that summer is my least favorite season, and I'm not outdoorsy on a pleasant, moderate day.

The draw of the fountains and the landscaping and the fresh air and the freedom from office land all conspired to entice me outdoors even on the hottest days. The benefits far outweighed the drawbacks.

On the super hot days, I didn't throw in the towel. I simply adjusted my pace. I took a water bottle with me. I may have even shortened the route a bit. The summer scorches tested my wimpy weather mettle, and I beat the heat. 
And here's where the deeper meaning comes in: Of course, I walked in the heat of summer's afternoons. Of course that didn't deter me. I HAVE ALREADY WALKED THROUGH FIRE, and come out safely on the other side. I have done hard things for a long time. I didn't always feel strong and mighty, but I persevered and did it anyway.

I have a tendency to underestimate the obstacles I have overcome. I felt the heat by leaving a marriage that was serving no one. I felt the heat entering counseling to better understand how I fit into my family's dynamics. I felt the heat every time my efforts and hard work were misunderstood at my day job. I felt the heat every time someone else wrote a narrative about me that served their agenda, but was an inaccurate, harmful, and wrong account of who I am.

Of course, I withstood walking on burning pavement under a punishing sun. I've already been burned. It reminds me of the process of glass blowing. The only way beautiful pieces of glass art can be formed is by being subjected to the heat of an open flame. No heat. No beautiful glass work.

I feel beautiful and light, kind and expansive in ways I've never felt before. I know it's because I now know what I'm made of. I know my own strength and the power of what I've been through.

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