It’s a lazy Saturday morning in July. Your family wakes up late, lounges around in their pajamas, and enjoys a late breakfast of smoothies and banana nut muffins. This kids are playing a wild make-believe game in their room while you and your husband sit and enjoy a cup of coffee together on the couch. After a half-hour the kids come bounding out of their room, itching to get the day started.
Saturdays are “family days” so you ask the kids what they want to do today. Everyone chimes in all at once with their ideas. They’re so excited and so loud you can’t understand a word they’re saying! Once you calm everyone down you listing to each child’s suggestions one by one. No one wants to stay home that day so you and your husband decide that a family adventure is in order. It’s been a while since you’ve been out exploring nature so you decide to grab your adventure packs, your cameras, and a picnic lunch before heading out into the woods to wander about.
The weather is hot outside. The sun is shining high above the trees bursting through with golden rays here and there. The birds are chirping back and forth to each other. You can hear the bees buzzing as they hover from flower to flower, and your children are pointing out every little thing they see… a sparkly rock covered in thick green moss, an unknown mushroom to identify, a cool bug with bright colors on its back. You stop to look up new findings in your field guides. You have your kids pull out their notebooks to sketch the new plants and animals they see. You practice describing what you see, smell, and hear with each other, and you keep track of questions you don’t have answers to so you can look them up later when you get home
You eventually wander into a part of the woods that consists of a dense group of trees. The air grows cooler and you feel a gentle breeze wafting through from time to time. There are other people there exploring the woods too, venturing to different areas. You don’t see them, but you can hear their faint voices in the distance.
As you continue to roam, you spot a path just up ahead that looks interesting. There’s something about this path that calls to you. You can’t quite put your finger on what it is exactly so you and the family venture over to check it out.
At the beginning of the path you find an old wooden sign. The sign is broken, wet, and covered in patches of moss. There’s writing on it that you can barely make out, but after studying it you see that it says, “The Path of Natural Health & Vitality”. What a strange sign in the middle of the woods! No matter, it sounds great! You’ve been hearing more and more about “natural health,” and you’re curious about what this path has to offer you and your young family.
You peer down the path. It seems long and winding, but you see other people on it a little further ahead. You and your husband talk things over and you both think this would be a great path to explore as well so you set off.
As you journey down the path, you notice a few things.
First, there are times where the path is smooth and clear, and walking is easy. The wind blows warm, the air smells fresh and crisp, and everyone is in good spirits. The whole family feels like traveling down this path was the best choice they could have made. As your continue to make your way down the path you come across many new things to learn, you meet new people exploring this same path, and best of all, your family is thriving and happy. Life certainly is good!
You also notice that there are times on the path when your footing is unsure. Obstacles get in the way and frustration fills the air. Someone trips over a rock or snags their foot on a tree root. Maybe your kid scraps their knee or they get scared that they can’t get through all the briars that are in the way. Maybe someone even gets stung by a bee or gets sick in some way. Each time you need to stop and regroup. You and your husband discuss if it’s worth continuing on the path. You know that good times are ahead and that these obstacles are just something you have to get through… to overcome. Besides, you’ve come so far already… it’s too late to turn back now. You love this path and where it’s taking you. You know you must choose… you must commit to continuing on for the end result is worth all the effort.
The last thing you notice on the path of “Natural Health & Vitality” is that there are many smaller paths that branch off of it. All the paths have the same old wooden signs that tell you where each new path leads. One path branches off to the right and reads, “Foodie.” You like food and you’d like to learn more about eating healthy so you glance down that path only to see other paths branching off of it. These smaller paths get even more specific and say things like, “Real Food,” “Gluten-Free,” “Paleo,” etc.. You decide that you don’t have time for that today so you move on to read the signs on the other paths you come across. Some other path signs read, “Natural Skincare,” “Non-Toxic Cleaning,” “Herbalism,” “Essential Oils,” “Allergies,” so on and so forth. There are paths everywhere, and many things seem interesting while others do not.
From time to time your family decides to get off the main path and venture down one of these offshoots to explore and see what it’s about. These smaller paths are much like the larger one. They each have the same characteristics… moments where life is good and everyone is enjoying what the path has to offer, obstacles that snag and block your way, and even more paths that offer different directions you can take. Thankfully each path you choose ends up circling back around to the main “Natural Health & Vitality” path.
As you journey on the main path you realize you’ve seen several of the smaller paths that branch off from side to side before. Some of these paths you passed by and some of them you ventured down to see what they were about. As you pass by them time and time again you realize that the main path offers many opportunities for you to learn new things or to allow you to simply learn more about the things you’ve already looked into if you wish.
What a vast path! It never gets old as there are so many places to explore and so many things to learn. There’s challenge and adventure everywhere you turn.
You’re also finding that the path of “Natural Health & Vitality” isn’t always easy. Sure it has its “life is good” moments… many of them in fact, but none-the-less, traveling down this path is proving to be hard work. Thankfully it’s hard work that pays off in the short-term as well as the long-term. Your family has a closer bond, you’re healthier in every way, and you’ve learned so much already. What a busy day full of adventure that you’ll never forget!
As the day winds down, you begin to wonder where the end of the path is. It seems like this path is never-ending!
You eventually come across a tall tree with wooden slabs nailed to it to make ladder rungs. Like all the other paths, an old wooden sign is pointing to the tree that says, “View From The Top.” Curiously, your husband climbs up to take a look around. The climb takes him so high that he’s masked by all the tree branches and leaves, and after being gone for quite a while, he finally reappears and excitedly tells you what he saw.
He says he saw the path of “Natural Health & Vitality” as well as all the smaller branching paths that came off of it. He could see how the smaller paths weaved in and out among one another, and how they circled around, back to the main path and sometimes crossed through other larger paths. He said that there were many other large paths like the one they were on, each with their own set of smaller paths branching off taking people here and there. He told of all the people he saw walking along these intersecting paths and how some were more crowded than others. Finally, after detailing all that he saw he excitedly tells you that he’s sure he just got an arial view of the “Paths Of Life!”
Talk about adventure! Talk about a life journey! As we go through life we walk along many different paths. Some paths parallel each other while others intersect and lead in different directions.