Momentum, The Ills and Thrills

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I slowly let go of the top strap of my backpack. It settled gently on the rock below me and then slowly tilted forward and off it fell into space. Whoops. I watched in humor and horror as it careened off boulders, gaining speed as it went tumbling and bouncing down the mountain side. Quite beautiful actually. Then thwack it crashed into a group of mature hemlock and became still. My friend John’s head instantly popped out from behind the trees with a frightened and quizzical look on his face. Sorry John, whew that was close.

And so go our lives.  We carry forth the momentum of the past boldly and (usually) unconsciously into the present. At times we careen off each other, while at other times we settle down gently like I had thought my bag was going to do. Sometimes we need a group of sturdy trees to stop us, which allows the opportunity to contemplate what we are doing and where this momentum is taking us. Other times we need the courage to let go and see where all the tumbling will lead. It can be important to build up enough momentum to overcome the all-too pervasive inertia in our lives. I have often thought that this force was something that you always wanted to build in life. But momentum is not always a good thing, especially when we follow it blindly. The momentum of the past, forged as habits and neuroses, becomes this person we think we are and this life we believe is under our control. Momentum is not a straight-forward thing. And it’s not as simple as the dichotomy I am presenting here. Without acknowledging momentum’s role along with a healthy dose of mindfulness, we may simply be backpacks tumbling down a mountainside. Some will come to rest against a tree while others will fly off into the abyss.

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4 Comments on “Momentum, The Ills and Thrills”

  1. Julie says:

    I remember a similar experience a long time ago with a pack and I was facing uphil,l my waist belt was on and I was fixing my left arm strap and the other side came loose too, now the weight is on my hips, 70 pounds… and my friend looked me in the eyes and waved…I laughed so hard as I tumbled back by the momentum of my pack. Entirely out of my control. Glad I could laugh at it.

    • dhlafever says:

      Sometimes we simply need to look someone in the eyes, wave and say goodbye as they go flying off into the abyss. Other times we need to lend a hand and help them stay upright. Its skillfulness that allows us to know the difference.

  2. “We carry forth the momentum of the past boldly and (usually) unconsciously into the present.” So true.

    “At times we careen off each other, while at other times we settle down gently” I love this.

    “Sometimes we need a group of sturdy trees to stop us, which allows the opportunity to contemplate what we are doing and where this momentum is taking us.” As I have been careening down a steep, uncharted slope lately, I feel ever so grateful for the sturdy group of trees I call friends and family who have been irreplaceable through it all (you included).

    “Other times we need to courage to let go and see where all the tumbling will lead.” Courage, strength and fluidity. Bumps and bruises aside, tumbling can be exhilarating, terrifying and mysterious. Gravity takes its toll, but the scars can tell the story better than any tattoo.

    • dhlafever says:

      Thank you Leisyka! “Gravity takes its toll, but the scars can tell the story better than any tattoo.” So true, so true! Glad I have been able to be a sturdy tree. I am sure there will come a time when it’ll be my time to careen off some boulders and tumble on off someplace!


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