LIfe at High Altitude in Colorado

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

-Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Look Where You Want to Go


Some of the most simple bits of advise become life teachings.

About 20 years ago,
a gifted instructor was trying to teach me
how to ski safely down a steep, heavily forested slope
littered with stumps and boulders.


She said, 
"Don't look at the trees or obstacles,
concentrate instead on the space between them."

"Look only where you want to go."


My instinct at that time was to gaze intently (and fearfully)
at exactly what I wanted to avoid.
Her advise taught me to focus instead on the 
"safe" space through which I could pass.

I've used her simple suggestion many times since.
Initially, I used it physically anytime I had to maneuver
on skis, on bike, or on foot.

But, finally I realized I could apply her teaching more broadly.


Mentally and emotionally, if I need to maneuver safely
past obstacles or around a problem,
I try to remember
to focus on the space between
- the solution -
instead of concentrating on and
worrying about the obstacles.


When I'm tempted to focus my worry
on the perceived problem instead of the solution,
I remember standing
at the top of that steep wooded slope,
my heart drumming with fear.
And I can hear her saying "follow me"
as she guided me past all the dangers.

Life is so much easier if I focus on the the solution, not the obstacle.

Look where you want to go!

Has a simple bit of advise ever made a big difference in your life?
If so, please share in your comment so we can all benefit.

(Photos taken on iPhone 5 and edited on my iPad with Toaster, Sketchin, and TitleFx apps.)

49 comments:

  1. I can't think of any to share at this moment but I think I'm going to remember yours. A bit like looking at a glass half full and seeing the potential.

    Your first picture... I thought it was an ant!

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  2. I love that. Simple but clarifying. I hope to remember that also.
    My daddy always said "Only turn in work you are willing to take full credit for."

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  3. What lovely advice certainly applicable to all of life.

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  4. A beautiful poignant story. And what a lovely set of photos.

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  5. That's a great lesson. The lesson's I've learned are: Never explain, never complain.

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  6. A wonderful post with an insightful thought and beautiful photos. I've always been very sports-oriented so I've heard this advice in many contexts. But, in real life, it applies best to my back problems. I don't focus on them and all the things that they make impossible. Instead, I focus on what I *can* do.

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  7. Great advice, Barb, - I shall take it to bed with me and ponder on it. I seem to be dawdling along the way and not moving forward very quickly, so perhaps it will show me the way.

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  8. What beautiful images and a powerful message! I will look where I want to go. I will focus not on obstacles but solution. Thanks for sharing, Barb.

    Yoko

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  9. You definitely put a great thought and incite into our minds of those who visit with you today. Yes, use her advice wisely throughout everything in life.

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  10. Very good advice and beautifully illustrated with your photos. I like the way KB, above, applies your advice to dealing with a physical problem.
    When I think of advice I have been given I think about the many times my mom told me. "pretty is as pretty does".

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  11. Wonderful advice which I shall try to apply.

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  12. Barb, this post is full of wisdom and you shared it in a most compassionate manner. Thank you so much.
    I agree with KB's comment as well and have taken that approach with the health concerns I have dealt with the past few years......focusing on the things I can do, not what I can't any more.
    I think I am about to get an iPhone5!! Really like what you did to these photos.

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  13. I think that's wonderful advice and I think I just might take it to heart. I can apply that in a couple of areas in my life.

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  14. Good advice, and great photos! I especially like the look of that last shot.

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  15. Wonderful words of wisdom and such fabulous shots!

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  16. This is a wonderfully thought provoking post and fine words to live by. I very much like the photos you chose to illustrate it as well. It is very easy to look at all the 'around' and not enough at the prize. I think I needed to read this one today -- one of life's synchronicities.

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  17. Hi, Barb,
    It is wonderful advice and this will surely let us have a positive attitude to life. Now my leg is getting better so I have started to practice walking with a stick around my house. I still have to be careful not to step on the dents on the ground. I am a little bit scared but I will try to find somewhere flat to walk safely! ! It's a different feeling! Thanks for sharing, Barb.

    It was snowing yesterday here but my garden did not become white. Spring is just around the corner. Enjoy your week!
    Tomoko











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  18. "Say what you mean and mean what you say" is something I've tried to do over the years.

    I like your wisdom quote as well. :)

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  19. I often look at those obstacles, too and then, you know...your whole outlook gets muddied and you add to your stress. I used to have a chalkboard hanging in my kitchen. It had belonged to an elderly friend who had died. The last thing she wrote on it was "Just breathe." Her granddaughter gave it to me when I timidly requested it after she invited us neighbors over to see if we wanted any of the stuff they were going to give to Goodwill. I think she thought that I just wanted the chalkboard, but I've never erased her words.

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  20. That top photo made me really smile. The little seedling with the weight of the world but holding strong!

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  21. Life is not a rehearsal, we get one chop.
    Concentrate only on the positives in your life and let go of the negatives. Let go of the 'stuff' that just doesn't matter.
    Hope your overnighter in the city is for fun purposes Barb, and that the snow was welcome and not a hindrance. Gosh I could sure use some in this sweaty part of the world/.

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  22. What wonderful advice: "don't look a the obstacles, but at the space between them"! This is an excellent way of manoeuvring ourselves through anything that comes along! I very much like your second picture.

    The words I read which have helped me accept situations which arise in my life are these:

    "Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment."
    This excerpt is taken from the book "Oneness with All Life."

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  23. Wise words! And I love the photos you chose to illustrate this great advice.

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  24. A beautiful post and great wisdom. Similar to driving a car. Look far ahead and not just the car in front of you. I find these types of principals effective in my daily living as well.

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  25. Hullo you!!!
    So sorry to have stayed away so long....I truly missed out. My heart does lighten and vision for the important, comes into view.

    Loved this wisdom post. Just a week ago while riding my sisters rescue mare, D'apple,I was told to look where I wished to go....as poor D'ap almost ran into the rail. Apparently,I was focusing upon it!

    Thank you for hitting this home,a life style of choice to live better, and certainly freer self made grief.
    XO
    KK

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  26. Just oou'd and awed upon looking at your photos!

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  27. I saw something on TV 18 years ago (part of a major news story) that I responded to with tears and heartache; that impacted my life by eliminating self-pity. When I feel that I'm "going there," iI figure out how to change courses. It wasn't advise, but it made a difference. The metaphor in your pictures and story is a good one. I visualized while reading and it makes total sense. I'll be thinking of you on the slopes when my next challenge occurs. :)

    The serenity prayer just popped into my mind. I've always liked it.

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  28. A wonderful post with a very powerful message! I will remember these words, they can applied to many parts of my life! Your snow images are gorgeous. My favorite is the fourth one, the bright red jacket headed out in a winter wonderland! I love your composition and the ski trail leads my eye right through the photo!

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  29. Lovely wintry scenes and a bit of advise... 'look where you want to go.'

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  30. Hiya Barb! Gosh, I've missed quite a few of your posts! Sorry about that! I have been focusing my energy on clay classes & work since I've been back in Santa Fe & have put the blog on the back burner. Glad to see you are out & about enjoying this winter season!
    I love your photography, Barb & I love the effects with the Iphone! You're very techno-savy looking at your editing tools... I feel behind the times!
    "Look where you want to go" is a great philosophy... I may steal that & put it on my fridge. I agree, It is too easy to get caught up in where we are, seeing the obstacles & difficulty rather than focusing on positive outcomes. Good message to keep as a reminder.

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  31. These are fun! I love the shadows in the first one - such pretty snow! (it was 70 here yesterday!)

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  32. I like that. Great advice. Another wise bit of advice I've received is to not believe anything people say, but believe everything they do.

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  33. Such good advice - I'll keep working on it. You often share important ways of being.

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  34. Brilliant advice; I too have a tendency to focus on obstacles rather than the path.
    So easy when somebody puts it into words, isn’t it.
    Something to remember!

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  35. Barb, you know how you're meant to read something some days? Reading through these words, I suddenly felt some light and illumination and space point the way between some perceived obstacles. This is a great post. May we all keep our gaze encompassing the space. Then we'll find our way. Do you mind if I share this on Facebook? It is lovely.

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  36. Simple thoughts are often the most brilliant, and that was certainly the case with your instructor's comment. I will have to remember that one.

    And by the way, I love the effects on those pictures!

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  37. Sending you much love and good wishes Barb, I hope all goes well for you and thank you for your encouraging words. Xxx CC

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  38. Be much better soon. Hope to be seeing your post on my readers list soon. Be well.

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  39. I am hoping you are getting well. Rest and be positive. Believe your allergy can be curable!!
    It is beautiful day today here. Spring is just around the corner. I will enjoy small lives coming out in my garden, and so will you.
    Tomoko

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  40. January has left me looking at what I most fear. So this post is a blessing. With you in my thoughts as I find that place between the fear - to where I need to go. Sending love. Sending prayers. Sending the space to see- xoxo teri

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  41. Hi, Barb,

    First of all, I saw your closed comment post, so let me just say here that I am sending all the good vibrations and prayers I can your way. As you know, my winter months have been challenging and I have learned that rest is clearly a big thing toward healing well. I wish none of us had to deal with things like this; you are being wise to lay low.

    And, to take this advice. Clearly it is something I have to challenge myself to do. One does get so afraid. I was supposed to see these words today as I catch up on visiting my friends. I'm very glad I came here. I will take it to heart. I live by the words one day at a time and fully expect the universe to cooperate. Onward we go. And yes, soon spring will be here with longer days, more sun and warmth. Sending love.

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  42. Good Morning, Barb,
    Wow! Your photography has gone to an entirely new level! That's great to see after not having been here for a while. I notice you are using your iphone ... fantastic. I am good and sure needed to read what you have put into words here. I had miniscus and acl work done on my knee the day after Christmas so I am not trudging through the snow with my camera at all this year ... and there is plenty of it : ) Love to you and yours from The Prairie. xoxo.

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  43. That's some excellent advice for living. I need to remember that. Too often I get distracted by the obstacles and miss the clear path that leads to the other side.

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  44. Hi Barb! I meandered to this post to leave you a comment and am so glad I read this! I will share this post today with some of my colleagues. We are all getting through the new observations and are feeling a great sense of relief ... The "big one" is behind us. Our principal takes notes on what is happening in our classroom like a court room stenographer. The paperwork associated with them is triple what they used to be. We still have unannounced observations that last 10 minutes. They will be "the trees along my path." I will keep my eyes on the path and beyond!
    I will be like water and will flow through this --- right to the end of June! Thank you for this word picture and lesson.
    Thank you for your words of encouragement... I appreciate them so much!

    Barb, I wish you many relaxing moments ...
    Grace will be with you as you move through this path toward healing and renewed health.
    Happy Easter to you and your beautiful family,
    Blessings always,
    ~ Maria

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