The Fallen Log Puzzle – Removing the Obstacle on the Path
An experience of removing a fallen log on a classic Southern Oregon’s (“my wilderness backyard”) Osgood Ditch Trail with the Siskiyou Mountain Club (a non-profit organization “We do the hard work it takes to keep the backcountry experience alive in the region we work”) provided great insight into how we handle the obstacles in our bodies and our lives. How we can utilize an experience as a teaching lesson for the journey of healing. Whether you are healing from an injury, or healing from trauma, you know what an arduous journey it can be to heal. It requires right effort often with precision and focus, unconventional means, awareness of surroundings and taking the time to assess all issues, team work with the ability to express your feelings & concerns to others, the appropriate tools, patience, perseverance and celebration.
Let’s look at these fundamentals a lil bit more:
- Right effort – Let the saw work for you. Use the body, as much of the body as you have available to your action(s), and watch the mind’s tendency to rush or push harder on the body than necessary. This was especially important because the unconventional means of under-bucking with the one man cross-cut saw.
Alignment (precision) of the top cut for the undercut was essential to the process, being aware (focus and attention) of the opposites (top and bottom) and how they related made the process much more efficient.
- Team work – this requires including all members able to perform the task. The coordinated effort of “all parts,” or team members, makes the task an effective means to addressing the fallen log blocking the path.
This is true of our bodies as well; use what’s available and coordinate as many parts of yourself to accomplish the task of “removing the obstacle.”
- Being aware of the surroundings – gather information from your senses about the situation and the surrounding variables that you can address to make the task a viable option and noticing the hazards or consequences to the task can help the situation. This also included being able to express your feelings & concerns for the task. Fear can be a big one, and noting that you fear something that may be a consequence to your actions is important.
Hiding the fear keeps it unattended.
With our leader in the task, she had the courage to address her fear to the group, the uphill part of the log potentially sliding down, was extremely important for all others to hear and acknowledge the risks involved. Naming what the fear was about allowed all of the team members to take note and be aware without giving up on removing the obstacle. We didn’t let the fear stop us from doing what needed to be done.
It is very important in removing obstacles on your path, and journey of healing to notice your feelings, especially fear, and you stay focused on what you need to do without fear stopping you.
- The appropriate tools – and the skill it requires to remove the fallen tree from the path was vital. A two person saw might have been the best, but that would have required extra resources to carry it in and out, and since we did not know what obstacles we would find, and the number of people carrying tools into the wilderness, we choose to take the one person cross-cut saw.
So we did what we could with the tools we had available. This required a lil more time and strategy knowing what we had, and multiple team members and patience were some of our virtues. And noting the potential challenges, such as binding and unknown tension in the log; or fault lines from how it grew, fell and broke on the terrain, provided us ample opportunities to use our tools with great skill in different ways to accomplish the removal. And avoid binding and loosing access to a very important tool.
No need to push harder or faster if that risks breaking an important part of the system, and potentially loosing it completely for further actions in the task at hand,
or future obstacle.
- Perseverance – was another cardinal quality in removing the obstacle.
At first you don’t succeed, try again. And try again. And try again.
Perhaps from another angle, with an additional tool, more team members or part of the team you didn’t know you had available but it all of a sudden came to your awareness you had that skill, or tool – the hand saw. And using all of our senses, to inform us of how the practice was proceeding; such as the sliding sound of the fallen tree uphill, the cracking and separating, and the final release of cutting.
- Celebrating – But interesting how there was so much focus on cutting the log, that in the process of moving the cut piece off the trail all team members jumped in exuberantly and began moving the large piece without pausing and looking at the best direction and way to move it off the trail. A very discombobulating and potentially injurious situation for one or more of the team members; you could also say one of the systems in your body.
In the release, the freeing “energy” and excitement keep your focus on the steps and doing what is fully required keeps your actions coordinated and integrated.
This happens a great deal, we are so excited when the obstacle is cut or broken through, we celebrate and let down our focus and attention. And in fact the cutting through is just one step along the process. Without good observation, continuing with integrating the cutting through with the rest of the essential tasks or actions, something can go awry.
In that final stage, or integration, there can be re-injury, unresolved piece and set back. It was important to stop, review, and try to find the best way to take it completely off the path.
Celebration is a great ingredient in the process of removing obstacles, and maintaining a clear middle way that keeps one from swaying to and from – comfort and discomfort, removal and return, contraction and relaxation, will keep one from noticing and utilizing what is in the obstacle and the end goal.
Keeping your sights on what you really want is key to healing. Moving beyond pain relief is essential to living fully with the energy to address the next obstacle that comes across your path.
A prayer(song) for you:
“sthira sukha asana”
May you be courageous & steadfast
with the virtues of peace & happiness
in the pursuit of your endeavors.