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Tuning Out and Tuning In

Updated: Mar 25

What do you do when confronted by a challenge that stumps you? No matter how you look at the situation there doesn't seem to be many options.

When this happens to me I head out to a park or hiking trail. In nature, I've found I’m able to expand my thinking and gain perspective. Several years ago, I faced a decision that had major implications on the course of my life. During a break in a conference that I was attending in Houston, I explored the Houston Arboretum with the hope of gaining some clarity.

I found a comfortable bench beneath a shade tree and closed my eyes to listen to the sounds of nature. I was enjoying myself when a loud train rumbled by; its noise blocking out all other sounds. A wave of frustration flowed through me as I imagined the train to represent the decision I faced. Like the train, it had rumbled into my life and consumed my attention.

The train passed and nature’s sounds returned: birds chirping, a crow cawing, a squirrel rustling in the brown, dry leaves. I reflected that these sounds were present the entire time-they hadn’t ceased while the train passed. I just couldn't hear them.

Like those sounds of nature, new perspectives and attitudes offering possi