Danger! Watch Where You Step!
The Soviets really did a number on Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghanistan war from 1979-1989. Afghanistan is one of the largest mined countries in the world. Some estimates put the total number of mines in Afghanistan up to 10 million. Thousands of casualties are reported each year from mines and other unexploded ordinance (UXO). Most of the casualties are children. Finding a metal object out in a field, their curiosity is peaked. They pick it up and the results are catastrophic with loss to life or limb. There are de-mining programs run by the UN and other organizations operating in countries all over the globe. Surrounding Bagram Airfield are several miles of fences with the sign above prominently displayed every few feet as a warning to anyone that would wish to venture out. People know to take the sign seriously.
When I saw this sign, I started to think about minefields. Mines are sometimes hidden from view or scattered out in the open. Mines are intentionally dropped or planted to produce casualties. Removing them is expensive, resource-intensive, and time consuming. And its all about where you step.
And then I wondered about minefields in life. There are obvious dangers to life and health. A heavy smoker, alcoholic, or drug abuser might be planting mines that will eventually explode on them and their loved ones. Doing something extremely risky is a “minefield”. What is not so obvious, however, are other types of “minefields”. We often create these minefields ourselves by the way we treat ourselves and others. We are responsible as individuals for the mines we plant in our life. And we are responsible for where we step. We plant mines with words, actions, behaviors. Others plant mines around us, either intentionally or unintentionally. We go about our days aware of some mines and we step around them. Sometimes we can see the mines as clear as day and we choose to step on them anyway. And sometimes our feet accidentally step on one, despite our best intentions.
Seeing the “Mines” sign reminded me to be careful about what I plant. As an aware and responsible human being, I can choose to plant mines or flowers. Imagine if the Soviet army, or any army, would have planted flowers instead! Planting thoughts of limitation, discouragement, self-pity, or anything self-defeating can explode on the inside and stifle self-love, growth, success, faith, peace and joy. Unintentionally or intentionally planting mines of criticism, negativity, anger, defeat, intolerance, and impatience for others leads to heartaches, separations, physical and emotional harm, crimes, and war. Ever try to “clear the minefield” created after you said something you didn’t mean or after you have lost the trust of someone you love? Sometimes it’s impossible and the harm done is catastrophic.
What can you plant today that will benefit you and others? Kind words? A compassionate thought? A random act of kindness? Choosing to see something good and positive rather than something bad and negative? Giving a hug, a smile, a thank you? How about planting flowers for yourself? Acknowledge your gifts, your personality, the light within you. Accept and love yourself and believe in the spark of divinity within you. Give yourself some credit.
I have also learned that its one thing to look out for mines and to know where not to step or walk. That method will help you avoid many explosions and harm. However, the optimal way is to instead look for places TO step that are clear and free of mines. Look for the clear places. Look for the flowers planted by others. By using a proactive approach and choosing to plant flowers and stepping where it is safe to walk, you will better avoid the dangers of mines. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather walk through a field of flowers than a field of mines.
You can choose and watch what you plant. You can choose and watch where you step.