Deer Lessons

I was feeling stuck. It could’ve been the heavy week we were having or the impending doom of PMS, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of my lack of purpose. Questions percolated my mind, while my hands soaked wrist deep in dirty dish water.

Am I focusing on the right things in my day? I wondered. Are the steps I’m taking, headed in the right direction? Sighing, I felt cloudy. Unable to see any fruit of my recent labor.

Glancing out the window I caught a glimpse that stilled my discouraging thoughts. A doe stood in our backyard, surrounded by last night’s snowfall. Lingering on the beauty of her silhouette in the winters cascade, my breath instinctively gasped. I realized, she was actually trapped.

Unbeknownst to her there was a fence that would keep her in our yard. A boundary laced our forest creating a barrier for this deer, and her eventual goal of home. Unless she found a hole or broke through, she would struggle to get out. This doe looked content though, in all her wandering. Not a worry graced her as she fed on frozen grass. Could this be a lesson to my own fenced in feelings?

Maybe I didn’t need to worry about the invisible barrier that seemed to surround me. Maybe I was too concerned beyond my yard to notice that I was making progress, it’s just that it was small. Maybe gathering what I need for now, was okay for this part of my journey.

So often I want to reach my end goal and get to the part where I can enjoy my hard earned work. I like all the fun parts of life! I have never been a marathoner, I have always been a sprinter that could only run fast when I saw the finish line. People often say “the purpose is in the journey” or “enjoy the process.” I find that has always been a difficult task for me.

As the deer gently perused the snow, her hooves inches deep in winter, my soul beckoned to pause. The swirly thoughts of defeat were not helping me, nor were they getting me to where I want to go. What they are successful at, is stealing my attention from the beauty that surrounded me, now.

I think there are things we can do when we feel stuck. I will leave that for another post. For now, I want to sit in the idea of bringing my focus to the backyard of my day. I want to rewire my thinking and take notice of the steps I’ve already taken. Inside my little fence, where have I already succeeded? And what are the nutrients I might pick up here, in this here and now space? All the while, being sure not to miss the spectacular winter wonderland in my midst.

There is a beautiful surrender that happens in the mindfulness of being present. Letting go of our perceived failures and grabbing onto our small successes, can lead us to clarity and contentment. If we trade uncertainty for what is certain, we recenter our minds on what beauty already exists.

Often, our already amazing choices have led us to the goodness right in front of us. We forget to sink ourselves into the magic created by the steps we already took! I have to remind myself, it’s okay to stay here for awhile and enjoy the view.

Do you ever struggle with purpose and contentedness?

Here’s a helpful mindfulness activity:

  1. Make a list of 3 good choices you have made that led you to where you are now.
  2. Think of 3 things you are thankful for, that bring beauty to your present circumstance.
  3. Close your eyes and whisper a thank you in your heart for the above gifts.

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