In late 2018, I spent an afternoon by myself getting back to the earth and enjoyed an uneventful stroll along the unmarked footpaths of a state forest. I came upon this ambitious plan-in-progress of a beaver.
This artwork of Mother Nature made me pause and reflect. Why did the beaver start this project? How long will it take to finish? What made it choose this tree versus the one closer to the river bank? What will the finished dam look like?
I had an opportunity to return to the forest and I set an intention to see the beaver’s finished masterpiece. Among the lush green growth of late Spring I found what I was looking for. Sort of. Although I was able to see the result of the beaver’s work it led me to ask more questions rather than satisfy my curiosity.
Did something happen to the beaver? Why did it stop? Does nature have the ability to think, “I’m wasting my time”? Do beavers make bad decisions? Does nature give up and quit when life gets difficult, or does it make a conscious choice to wisely reallocate its energy?
When I was a child, I quit skating lessons, playing the clarinet (no budget for the much cooler saxophone) in the grammar school band, later guitar lessons, and playing baseball. Learning was too difficult and so I gave up. Shame on me!
As an adult, I’ve started many life-changing projects and interests and careers and I’ve walked away from many of them. Notice, I did not say that I quit them. Rather, I realized I was fighting against a gut feeling, an instinct, my guiding force.
I’ve completed various educational pursuits that qualify me as being “certified” in this or that, but I’ve never applied those credentials to a career. Why? Because they no longer interested me and they didn’t fill me with a passion to perform. But, I never quit; I finished the classes and/or training that I started. I am more proud for having not quit than I am having received a paper certificate or credential on a license.
I walked out of the forest that day with pride. I don’t believe Mother Nature makes mistakes. As humans. we may not like the decisions she makes or the results of her actions, but she does what is necessary. She can be ruthless and cold-hearted and leave us asking more questions, mostly, “Why?”
I believe the beaver made a decision to use its precious energy pursuing a more fruitful goal. Seeing its abandoned project led me to write this post to let you know: It’s okay to leave behind that which no longer serves you. Please, appreciate yourself as a gift to others and use your resources wisely.
Walking away with pride is much different than quitting. If you are reading this I want to encourage you to never quit on yourself, because the world needs what you have to offer.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.