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Keep Your Light Off

An American in Switzerland

~ a weekly reflection about change

Welcome back to an ongoing series of weekly reflections on the tiny shifts that change everything

In classic Euro style, we’re on vacation for most of August, so this week’s reflection reaches back to last fall in the Pacific Northwest.

While mountain biking, I left my lights off as dusk sifted into the forest. As my daytime vision diminished, my night vision and all my other senses expanded.

Without lights, I intuited the contours of the land and what lay ahead by sensing the trail through my pedals, listening to the wind in the trees, and feeling the air on my skin as I rode through the forest.

Handmade bridge on Galbraith Mt trails, Bellingham, WA

Navigating a trail at mountain bike speed without being able to see every detail also forced me to let go of complete control and trust my connection and relationship with my surroundings.

As David Waggoner in his poem Lost says:

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
- David Wagoner

When I finally ran into a branch lying in the trail that I didn’t sense, I knew it was time to turn on my lights. Now I could see what was right in front of me, but it came at cost, which was losing my connection to everything else. Lacking that connection, I rode cautiously, suddenly worried about what had become the scary unknown beyond the illumination of my light.

Seeing clearly and focusing on a task is crucial in many parts of life, and it cuts you off from connecting and flowing with all that surrounds you while you maintain that focus.

When you need to get ‘er done, solve a problem, or fend off whatever tiger is at your door, switch on your light. Just remember to switch it off to connect and flow with everything else that's within and without when you don’t need that type of focus.

Modern living, and what feels like an ever more uncertain world, can make it hard to switch off your light. If it feels like your light is always on, I can help you find the off switch and support you as your eyes adjust to the dark. If that sounds good, I invite you to take advantage of one or both discounted sessions I'm offering between August 29 through September 2.

If you’d like to explore one-on-one coaching, please schedule a time to connect here.


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