The Thorny Path

Imagine, if you will, a field you must pass through that is full of thorny bushes.  There are parts of the path that you can clearly take that keep you away from the thorny bushes.  But there are parts of the path that appear impossible to pass through without some close encounters with thorns.  As I see you it, you have a few choices.
  1. You could just stop.  Don't go any further in the path.  Stay in that one place and don't move.
  2. You could move slowly and carefully so as not to get hurt by the thorns.  You could move so slowly that absolutely no thorns rub against you.  You may have to move in awkward ways.  This may slow down your journey by leaps and bounds.
  3. You could simply move through it, noticing any injuries and tending to them if they crop up.  Maybe seek some assistance if the injury is deeper than you realized or if it becomes infected.  But you move along on the journey and keep going, maybe take a break here and there if you find a patch with fewer thorns or no thorns at all.  I think looking for these areas for respite is so important on our path.
  4. And, of course, you could trim thorns.  This is a tricky choice.  It can seem daunting, as there are so many thorns and so many bushes.  And if we aren't careful how we trim and prune the bushes and thorns, more thorns will crop up on the same bush.  But trimming and pruning thorns can be good, especially in areas of the path that we want to hang out for a bit or maybe even return to.
This seems a metaphor for navigating life.  What are the thorny bushes along your path?  Two thorny bushes that come up in my life are what might be called "rape culture" and "diet culture."  I talked about the #MeToo movement several months ago, and I think that I am personally and professionally aware of things that pop up in social media and pop culture, and from time to time, in person that have subtle to not so subtle messages of women not having the right to say no to sexual discussions or advances, no matter how personal.  Even more pervasive is the idea of diet culture.  If you are embracing new paradigms around eating or health, and rejecting the diet mentality, you are likely encountering many messages through social media and pop culture that refer to dieting, losing weight, certain foods being good or bad, and not trusting your inner guidance system regarding your body and food. Again, personally and professionally, I am aware of these messages and images and intrusions. I recently started reading a book about spirituality.  I was so excited and felt it was needed in my life for spiritual growth and development.  The author made SO MANY references to losing weight being connected to spiritual growth, or likening what she believed to be making healthy choices around foods being like making good choices in our spiritual habits, I simply stopped reading the book.  I am currently reading a book that came highly recommended.  It is in the self-help genre and is especially about empowering women.  I am still trying to decide what I think.  So far....I am still reading it as there are some good nuggets....but I am noticing thorns, so many thorns that I don't think I would recommend this book to anyone.  I've considered stopping reading it, but I want to get better at walking through the thorny bushes, so I am pushing through...for now.  But I am paying attention to the scrapes and cuts that come along. I am going to continue this idea more next week, but for now, take care of yourself.  If anything in this post is tender because of interactions with thorns you've had, or even thorns that have lodged in your skin, please contact a support person or professional.