Yesterday I was walking Hanalei Bay at sunset. I am lucky. I live 10 minutes from the bay. One thing about this time of year, however, is that there are many bees on the sand near the shoreline. They walk the sand. I can’t tell if they are drowning or what but they don’t seem to fly. They just walk very slowly. Consequently, if you are walking the bay, you need to watch out for the bees. I’m allergic to bees so I have to take extra care. I have worked hard to conquer my fear since I refuse to let potential anaphylactic shock deter me from exercising in one of the most beautiful and rejuvenating places on earth.
I walk with my iPod since music relaxes and inspires me. When I was walking yesterday, there seemed to be even more bees than usual. As I was walking, I was trying to devise a strategy. If I kept my head down and looked only at the sand right in front of me, I couldn’t see what was coming or the beautiful view all around me. If I looked too far ahead, I couldn’t see the bees right in front of me and I could possibly get stung. I didn’t have an EpiPen and many spots along the bay were deserted. I found myself looking just a little ahead with occassional glances farther ahead so I could see the mountains and the ocean.
I started thinking this was a metaphor for how I should live my life. Sometimes I get so caught up with what is right in front of my face that I can’t see the beauty and potential all around me. Other times, I seem only to be looking ahead and then I miss the beauty that is right in front of me. All my spiritual teachers and mentors have told me to stay in the present so I try to do that too. Somehow just doing that doesn’t work all the time for me. When I stay too much in the present, I don’t plan ahead. I know I am supposed to focus on whatever is in front of me at the moment even if it’s my calendar and I am planning ahead.
However, I am starting to think that focusing on what is in front of me at the moment, might not let me see the potential opportunities and challenges that could lie ahead. At the same time, looking too far ahead might mean that I miss the dangers and potential right in front of me. I think the answer for me is to look down and look ahead equally.