In the Lava Tube we clambered deep into the Earth following the cave tube left behind from flowing lava about 700,000 years ago. This is a self-guided tour. The forest service recommends taking two flash lights per person in case batteries fail or flashlight gets dropped and/or broken. Without your own light the darkness of the tube is absolute. DH and I ventured down when another group was coming. We watched their bobbing lights come to the opening and we waited our turn. The descent was rated moderately difficult by the forest service. I would have rated it difficult. Not life threatening but tumbled rocks that looked solid weren't. Steps were large and my feet dropped into darkness without seeing exactly where I set my feet. My husband went a little ahead with his light and I followed with my light. I learned several interesting things. I learned that I trusted DH. If his light disappeared I knew there was a corner or a low section that hid his light. I knew with perfect calmness that he was waiting for me. I learned that I felt better with him ahead as a goal for me to get to but going at my own slow rate. I learned that shining the light right at my feet was not very helpful. I needed the light about 2 to 3 feet in front of me. I learned that occasionally I needed to pause, shine my light around to get a better idea of what was to come, then pick a better path for me. My shorter legs and precarious balance, I need to carefully step over loose rocks which made following DH's footsteps exactly a poor choice. I also felt more confident moving forward knowing that at any time I could say I needed to go back. We didn't make it all the way to the end of the tube because I knew that my legs still needed to carry me back out. After going about 3/4 of the way, I suggested we turn back and head out. I was happy that my legs made the distance. I was tired and pleased with no anxiety attack or fear. This was huge for me.
What did I learn about guiding lights and following them?
I learned that looking ahead is helpful. Where I am at will take care of itself if I keep my goals in mind. Big goals are helpful but the smaller goals get me there. I learned that I need to modify my path to fit my needs and limitations. Doing exactly the same things as someone else does not help me meet the long term goal. Stopping to look around and assess my progress is helpful in allowing myself to adjust my path as needed. I believe using spiritual guidance is similar to this experience. The tiniest light can push back the darkest places.