April 29, 1998


I have to deal with the boulders. I knew that it would eventually come to this, but I just did not know what to do.

I have been living in my new house for almost a year now. The one hundred and eighty feet of street frontage is lined by boulders. We are not talking rocks here. We are talking large boulders that could be moved only by heavy machinery. This is not a traditional New England wall built stone by stone. No, the boulders were tossed roughly in place as a farmer would do when he cleared his fields.

I like the boulders. They give a lot of character to the property. But the boulders are not lined up right. Instead of forming a continuous line they form a squished together “Y.” Somehow, for part of the frontage, a double row of boulders was laid, forming the top part of the “Y”. A new driveway was cut recently and maybe some or all of the second row was relocated from that area.

In between the double row is a mess of scrub, stumps and saplings. This area needs to be cleaned out, cleaned up and made orderly. I will need some of the boulders to finish off the entrance to the new driveway. But how should the wall be moved? What are the changes that need to be made?

Decisions like this one are not easy for me. I have been studying this wall since I moved in, wondering what needed to be done. I only think about it every time I walk past it. Should this be such a tough decision? Do I need to hire someone to help me decide?

For the last two weeks I have been working in and around the boulders - planting grass seed, clearing brush and leaves. The other day, I figured out what needs to be done. It did not come to me in the night or when I was out somewhere. It came to me when I was standing on the wall. I needed to muck around in the problem for awhile before the solution would come. I had to make the problem a visceral part of me, and then the answer became simple and clear.

The large pieces of glacial debris out front are not the only boulders in my life. I have boulders of fear which are the true obstacles in my life. How I deal with these boulders affects all of my decision making.

When I was practicing law my job required that I make many decisions. The decisions were based on knowledge and experience but they had to be made quickly. Often, a lot was on the line. I had no trouble saying yes or no, or go this way or that way.

But I discovered that I would use the same speed for decisions in my personal life. The decisions would be hasty and often would not work out for the best. I found that I was more interested in getting the question to go away than in getting the best result.

I have two decisions which are on the front burner right now. One is financial and the other is vocational. My energy level is up, I am enthusiastic and I want to make the decisions. But I know that I am not ready.

I learned that decisions have their own timetable. Some of the best decisions that I have made were the times when I decided to make no decision. I knew it was not time. Over time, the answer always becomes clear. The problem often resolves itself.

So for my pending decisions, I need to stand on my boulders of fear. I need to get more information and muck around for awhile. I need to clear away the underbrush that is clouding the issues. I need to move slowly and patiently forward.

I go within to my heart space and ask myself if I am ready to make a decision. Today the answer is no, but I know what I need to do next, so that a good decision will be reached. Standing on the boulders, I breathe deeply.

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