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A Lesson in Tunnel Vision
Written by Toy   
September 13, 2013
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TOY in Tunnel

I've always hated walking to the #6 train in that direction. Ok, maybe not so much the walk itself as much as passing through the dark, dreaded, stank underpass/tunnel thang when I went that way. Any other day I’d sigh and stop just at the edge of said underpass/tunnel thang, frowning and squinting… Next, I’d take a super deep (dramatic) breath, holding it carefully in my puffed-out to maximum capacity cheeks (looking straight up like Dizzy Gillespie)... and then do a running skip-hop-hurry-scurry-dash-hurdle-hop right on through it! It was only about 20-25 steps from one side to the other, and even LESS on a good day. Or roughly 10-15 seconds on a Chuck'ed tiptoe (which double as perfect pointe shoes, if you didn't know). My reward for the challenge? A $2.50 MTA escape to whatever freedom awaited on the other side of that jarring stench of a moldy, fossilized pee smell (and other unspeakable nighttime secrets that were smeared into the DNA of those tunnel walls). But I was in NO kinda run-skip-hop-hurry-scurry-dash-hurdle-hoppin' mood that day...

It started off a pretty disappointing day in business. After a loooong-awaited opportunity had been ping-ponged around a half dozen desks in just a few weeks, it suddenly didn’t feel like the right decision any more. In the sting of disappointment I decided that for the rest of the day, I didn't have a single, solitary damn left to give.  Well, yes technically I had just reached my 10-year “Entrepreneur-aversary” two days prior, but here 48 hours later (ironically) I could barely remember what I might've possibly been doing right for 10 years. Instead, I was preoccupied once again with all of the "almost-made-it-but-didn’t-jump-quite-high-enoughs" on my mental corkboard of impossible hurdles. The thing about me is that regardless of what else is going well, I have an uncanny ability to turn even the slightest disappointment into the center of my universe, if I'm not careful. And that morning on my way through the dark, stank underpass/tunnel thangy leading to the #6 train downtown, I (literally & figuratively) lost focus and started looking down.

I d-r-a-g-g-e-d through that stankin' tunnel as slow as I possibly could, surveying every inch of bubbly spit splat, gum wad and wet, dirty garbage remnant along the way. I didn’t so much as flinch, freak or even attempt to dodge the “mystery drips” that always leaked from the ceiling and land in my hair with perfect timing (even when it isn’t raining). I had even forgotten to scrunch up my face at the same smells that usually peeled back my nostrils, or the questionable feces and random, tied-up plastic bags of  'whatever’s in there' that usually sent my gag reflexes running for the border. In a twisted sorta way, it all felt comfortable— maybe because it mirrored exactly what my internal perspective felt like. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you’ve probably never hoped for a thunderstorm so you could go outside and cry in the rain, either. lol) That’s kind of what happens when you start to attach your very being to the story of a “hurdle” in your life, and rather than moving through the challenges, you actually BECOME (or personify) the challenges. Once I had decided to “look down” at the challenges in my life, I allowed my mind to become like that tunnel… so the way it felt that day hadn’t even phased me.

But before I could reach the other side of the tunnel, it dawned on me:

"There's always light at the end of the tunnel, TOY !!!  Don't look down. Focus ahead and keep on moving forward."

I stopped in my tracks at the other side and thought about it. Then I snapped a photo of myself standing outside it. The blinding light shining from inside the tunnel, directly over my shoulder and right next to my face spoke volumes. I realized that in every future tunnel experience, I always needed to stay conscious of my DIRECTION. When looking down, you only see where you are, not where you're going. The way out of the tunnel (challenges) was forward, not down. So why was I looking down?


Whatever your dark, dreaded tunnels happen to be (poor health, job loss, relationship, a delay in your dream, etc.), remember that the tunnel does not have to become you. What you do inside your tunnel (your thoughts, attitude, perspective, focus) makes all of the difference. You're not empowered when looking down at the situation, but when looking forward in the direction you wish to go. Looking forward (to the light) reminds you that the walk-through is temporary and a brighter situation is just ahead if you keep on moving. Looking forward helps to eliminate any feelings of stagnation, and the panicky feeling that you're only destined to stay where you are.

The good news is that even if you happen to look back while in the tunnel, you'll also see that there's light where you came from! Draw from the good experiences in your past to help push you forward. You can choose to see tunnels as: Temporary spaces that are essentially tools for the evolution of your life (not the sum of your life). Transitions. Passage ways. Pass-throughs. Bridges. Divine opportunities created to sharpen you for your next "fresh-air" experience. Preludes to the light ahead! Smile

See, if I weren’t a long-winded chick with a blog I might have simply said, “Every cloud has a silver lining”... buuuuut then my long tunnel story and matching photo would've been pretty irrelevant, huh? Undecided (Ha!) In my sharing though, I hope that someone else will find the courage to make empowered choices (thoughts, attitudes, focus) in the midst of their tunnels. No matter how long and deep the tunnel, know that you’re right where you need to be. Know that everything is in divine order. And know that you can choose to see every challenging moment as an exercise serving to bring you to a better moment. Then you will realize that no time and no experience is ever wasted...

Love ya,

TOY !!!

p.s. Follow me on Twitter for more long-winded thoughts in 140 characters or less: @TEEOHWHY


p.p.s. KEEP kicking tripping falling getting over those hurdles! Wink


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