I’ve been baking up a new book that I superstitiously can’t talk about yet, but having a blast and think you will love it madly, too. Haven’t had much time to blog properly, though I’ll have a little more time this week.
Saturday, I went to an orienteering event but bombed out badly on the orange course. Not sure why it was so wretched, except that I lost my confidence almost right out of the gate and couldn’t seem to recover. It’s a hard area, but I was defeated before I began–I defeated myself–you know where that leads, right? Nowheresville. Which is where I was. Lost in the woods with no idea where the stupid flag was, on a beautiful day when I could have been just hiking. Enjoying myself instead of getting so frustrated all the time. Why, why, why do I keep torturing myself, Self? I asked. Self decided it would be safer not to answer.
I consulted my map, oriented myself to find a road, and stomped into a clearing at the top of a mountain and had to stop grousing just to look around. At the Rockies, all around me. The open stretch of green grassy land in front of me, dotted with zillions of wildflowers because it’s been so wet this year.
But all the way back to the start, I was furious with myself. Okay, almost in tears if you want to know the truth. It was hot and I failed and I don’t like to fail and I can’t seem to GET this and I really want to. I love being out there. I am exhilarated by finding a control. I need to get out of my way. And I decided I wasn’t going to give up and feel miserable–I would take my DNF on the orange….and go out on the yellow course, which is pretty easy and it would make me feel better to find controls.
So I did. And yeah, it was totally easy, but with the stress off, I could enjoy the pleasure of being outside with my compass and look at the map and see the topography and find controls and punch them and get back in a reasonable amount of time. Successful.
It’s good for us to undertake tests and challenges, to bite off more than we can chew. It leads to growth and good humor and maintains beginner’s mind, which is very good for writers and others.
But it’s also okay to step back sometimes, take a breather, go back to a place where you know you can succeed and rest there for a minute. Next time I try a course, I will do yellow first to build up my confidence, then go for an orange the same day. I will not give up, because it isn’t like this is something I can’t learn. Anyone can learn to orienteer. I might not ever be talented at it. I might not ever even be any good at it particularly, but I can master the skill and art of it well enough to be able to enjoy it.
Much like writing. Or life.
On that note, a “small world” moment: This afternoon, the Mutual of Omaha people were in Colorado Springs to tape “Aha Moments” which is a special thing they’re doing to create brand awareness. (Have you seen them? They are a lot of fun.) I taped mine, about writing, then came out of the trailer and there was a woman waiting to tape her moment. She said she knew me, that she read my blog sometimes. I was astounded, and pleased, and we started chatting, and it turns out she orienteers, too! What are the chances we would meet at that trailer, back to back like that?
(By the way, the Aha Tour is going around the country, so you might have a chance to tape your moment, too. Or you can upload your own video at http://www.ahamoment.com/)
So I came home and looked up her blog, and I think all of you will enjoy her blog, too: Pam Burton is at http://theminimeinme.blogspot.com/ And Pam, when you drop by, a shout out to you! Fun to meet you today.