A Bull in Both Directions

I'm reading the memoir, Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  You know how sometimes you watch a movie and identify with a character in deep ways but don't exactly know why.  Maybe the character puts language to things that you've thought, or does things that you wish to be true about you, or has some kind of trait that is so apparent in them that you feel lying dormant in you.  I feel that way about this book.  There is something about how Cheryl tells the story of finding herself through a 100 day hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.  She's stubborn but has a resilient spirit despite her brokenness.  She's honest.  She's thoughtful.  And she's underprepared for her trip.

Within the first week of being on the trail she was charged by a raging bull.  As it raced towards her, she grabbed her whistle (which she opted for instead of any kind of weapon), closed her eyes, and blew  the whistle as loud as she could.  When she opened her eyes the bull was gone.  The only problem: she didn't see which direction the bull went.  

There could be a bull in either direction.  It seems that often we are forced to a decision knowing that whatever path we take has the potential of raging bulls along it.
“The thing about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, the thing that was so profound to me that summer—and yet also, like most things, so very simple—was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the thing I least wanted to do. How there was no escape or denial. No numbing it down with a martini or covering it up with a roll in the hay. As I clung to the chaparral that day, attempting to patch up my bleeding finger, terrified by every sound that the bull was coming back, I considered my options. There were only two and they were essentially the same. I could go back in the direction I had come from, or I could go forward in the direction I intended to go.” -Wild, Cheryl Strayed 

In my life, I see people around me settle in and not actually move in their intended direction.  I don't blame them, it's easy to settle in and not move forward.  As I observe the world, I hear a lot of talk about discontentment but I see little action.  That makes me sad.  It makes me sad to think that the possibility of a bull in either direction paralyzes humans to a point that we just become content.  And I know there are reasons for not moving, they're usually rational good reasons.  And I use those reasons from time to time. But what if we took action like there weren't any bulls--like we were free to move forward, unstuck-like, in self-determination and growth. 


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