Lewis And Clark Pay Attention

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As I write this Southern California has just ended its second week of triple digit temperatures. The intense heat changes the way we live and alters the rhythm of our days. We are up earlier to walk the dog while the park is still cool. We spend a lot of time indoors in the air conditioning. We've been eating better. We don't want to heat up the house with the stove ? so it's salads and chicken from the grill. And, as I don't want to head out in my black car two or three times a day, I find myself thinking more about what I need to do and combining trips and make lists.

When I take a break and flop in front of the TV I watch the third Hurricane in as many weeks bear down on Florida. When I try to call the airline to book my Christmas vacations a cheerful voice tells me there is no-one to answer my call right now because of the extreme weather across most of this country.

It occurs to me that we're paying attention to the weather. Or, more accurately, Mother Nature is commanding our attention whether we want to give it or not.

I'm reminded of a trip of the Western states I took years ago when I followed the river course of Lewis and Clark. They took on the amazingly brave project of finding a water route to the Pacific Ocean through uncharted, then-foreign territory. They took their guidance from the Indians and sailed for years on swollen rivers around mountains and plains where no white man had ever been. They rose when the sun rose and took to their beds when dusk fell ? battling mosquitoes as big as small birds throughout the night. Illness and hunger were their frequent companions. Fear walked in step with them.

They paid attention to the weather.

In 1803 when they began their expedition it would have been unthinkable to have made any decision on their journey without considering what nature would bring that day. A wrong move could have exposed them to great danger or even death and could've meant the abandonment of their trip ? ten years in the planning.

Today, we're pretty much cocooned inside our aggressively air-conditioned or heated automobiles, homes and offices. When we venture outside we wear space-industry fabrics which conserve our body heat or wick moisture away from our skin. We don't even need to go outside. From our computer we can make a living, socialize and keep in touch with our extended family all from one room.

It's easy to forget that we survive with the grace of, and at the mercy of, a natural world which has its own laws.

So every so often when we are stopped in our tracks by nature and we become aware of the all-encompassing reality which contains our all-important man-made world our perspective shifts.

We become aware of the dualities of our lives. Controllable or uncontrollable. Important or unimportant. Man-made or natural. And as always reality guides us just as surely as it guided that brave party from the Missouri to the Pacific Ocean.

Mary Rosendale is a writer, speaker and Founder of "The Constructed Life" a unique Holistic Life Coaching Service which assists people in re-directing their lives with purpose and action. Visit her on the web at and sign up for her free newsletter or check out her blog at

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