The Theosophical Society in America

A Morning Walk

Originally printed in the November - December 2002 issue of Quest magazine.
Citation: Bland, Betty. "A Morning Walk." Quest  90.6 (NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2002): 202.

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By Betty Bland, National President

Betty BlandWHERE DOES ONE START when facing a new and difficult problem? We have heard, “one step at a time.” I would modify that to “many steps,” in the form of a morning walk. Now, I admit that most folks would not want to walk as fast as is my practice, but everyone would profit from participating in the grand awakening of nature that occurs every morning. The returning sun brings fresh energy and sparkle to green and growing things, rain or shine, just as our returning consciousness, after a night of rest or a moment of meditation, glistens with renewal from other realms.

For me, moving into the role of president-administrator of the Theosophical Society in America presents an exciting and multifaceted challenge. Issues concerning publishing, programs, personnel, finances, library, membership, public outreach, facility management, educational effort, and community living swirl around as an ever-productive, many-headed hydra, beneficial, but complex in nature. The real task, however, is to view all of this with morning-fresh eyes to assure that the swirl is ever new and creative in accomplishing its valuable purposes.

The swirl of concerns and responsibilities that everyone has, sometimes a rapid whirlpool, sometimes a gentle eddy, needs to be viewed with fresh understanding daily. It is all too easy to lose sight of the garden, for being focused on the weeds. And what is a weed, but a plant out of place? There is a solution embedded within every problem; there is an opportunity within every crisis. The operative advice here is, “TRY.”

Several years ago when I was talking about my approaching presidency with Radha Burnier, our international president, she acknowledged the responsibility one bears as designated guardian and guide for the Society. There are always difficulties, compromising situations, and less than perfect people. (Surely not!) “Yet,” she said, “if one does one’s best both in action and in maintaining the inner focus, then help will come if needed and asked for.” None of us is alone; our higher selves and all the forces for good—the power that many call God—are available to magnify our own feeble efforts. Help will come; we just have to do our part.

On a morning walk recently after a rain shower, there was, wiggling frantically on the pavement in front of me, a fat, slimy earthworm trying to make its way to higher, dryer ground, but stuck and getting nowhere fast. Its activity caught my eye and generated pity for its plight. There was no doubt that this was a lively worm, full of spunk, and well deserving of a rescue pause. Putting on my brakes and wrinkling up my nose, I gingerly scooped up this slippery denizen of the earth and deposited it in the grass. As it slipped gratefully into its natural abode, I was struck by the comparison. If it had “thrown up its little hands,” and given up all effort, then it would never have experienced the miracle of being lifted up over the insurmountable barrier of the sidewalk. The secret is to keep wiggling.

How to solve any problem involves taking that first step, but it also means taking innumerable steps, becoming a walk, as the footprint becomes the path. And our life pathway that runs through the “pathless land” of existence requires a dewdrop-like freshness of vision if the way is to be found and a patiently enduring effort if we would have help along the way.