Last week, I decided to explore some nearby parks. Like an expert planner, I searched Google for addresses, and then set off on my quest. The first two parks on my list were completely uninviting—no trees, no grass, and no people. On a whim and without a plan, I turned my car around and drove in the opposite direction, heading in the general direction of some trees. Eventually, I found what looked like a decent place for a walk, meaning trees and grass. I parked my car and set off to explore, glad at last for the fresh air.
While crossing over a hill, I discovered to my delight a lake on the other side of the hill. With my fruitless early searching now forgotten, I walked around the trail that encircled the lake, smiling as a mallard duck swam by me.
As I approached a fork in the path, I saw a sign leading to a nature trail. Curious, and feeling a little like Alice in Wonderland, I followed the sign. Suddenly, I was in the middle of forest, walking on a path carefully paved with woodchips, with marsh to my left, dense forest on my right, and birds chirping all around me. The sound of splashing caught my attention, and I looked up just as a duck landed in the lake. In the distance, I could hear the echoes of a busy urban highway—a surreal contrast to my immediate surroundings.
When I reached the end of the nature trail, I decided to take a parallel path. How unlike me, I thought to myself, that I would travel back in the same direction from which I had just come. But enchanted, I kept walking, feeling devious for choosing this inefficient route.
I walked for a few minutes before stumbling on an arts center, where I heard the sounds of outdoor kilns firing. Through a window, I could see a woman turning a pot on a pottery wheel. My mischievous mood continuing, I ignored the signs warning me about the hot kilns and took a shortcut to the front of the building. When I entered, I found a gift shop full of items by local artists—and a much-needed bathroom. I poked around for a bit, put my name on the mailing list, and continued on my journey.
Over the past few days, I have thought about how this experience unfolded into something far more magical than what I had originally planned. And I have begun to consider how often I insert my own plans, only to miss the beauty over the hill. Is it possible that what the universe wants to create for me is far more beautiful—and generous—than anything I’d create for myself? That’s a tantalizing question.
And that question leads me to other intriguing questions: What’s possible if I suspend my narrow agenda and self-imposed limitations? What’s possible if I simply permit myself to trust inspiration that (honestly) never leads me down a dead-end? What’s possible for you?