Taking baby steps. When these words are spoken to describe a process of making change, there tends to be a hint of judgment. The “smallness” needs justification. It’s a disclaimer, of sorts. As though the steps and the step-taker aren’t quite enough. As if the incremental changes don’t really count. Somebody else would do it better or faster. Something bigger should be done.

Baby steps are actually life-changing. When human babies – and young caribou, wild cats, and tree frogs – take their first steps, their entire existence transforms. They begin moving about under their own power, exploring new terrain. Relationships multiply. Communication grows. Challenges are faced. Skills are cultivated. Learning unfolds. The spaces in-between here and there, and self and others, are filled with discovery and unknowns.

Each step brings alive another point of view. What before was out of sight becomes visible and within reach. What once was inconceivable becomes do-able. With one step and then another, a universe of possibilities opens up, then stretches even further, and then expands even more.

With each step you take, there’s a shift in the web of life. New threads being woven. The crossing of paths. Exchanges of information, energy, resources. Old fibers being unraveled and released.

Every step creates a rippling effect, within you and around you, touching others far beyond the reach of your arms, drifting on among lands and species and cultures, radiating across the miles and through the years.

With each step you take, you’re never alone.

Connections are weaving between all the step-takers and all the steps taken by humans and forests and winds and our sun and wolves and spirits and migrating birds and seeds and elephants and ocean tides.

Life isn’t a straight-line trajectory from here to there. Our journeys aren’t entirely mapped out before we begin or walked all-the-way-through all at once. We’re co-creating our own paths. We’re influenced by, and influencing, the paths of others. We’re akin to wild rivers who are finding their way through changing landscapes, relationships, and seasons.

We’re companions, each of us with everyone else. We’re a shared togetherness, an intricate web of interacting aliveness, in our precious time on the earth. Our human hearts awaken when the knowing of our connectedness runs through our veins, settles in our bones, and shapes the choices we make.

With every step you take through your everyday life, a vast field of choices and possibilities opens up. Where are you now? How will you navigate the next, the very close-in next?

What’s available and within reach that once was unseen, maybe unimaginable?

Which choice will serve the purpose and momentum of growth or healing or learning or loving or creating or building or letting go or rooting more deeply in this particular moment and circumstance?

Sometimes the most vital step to take is to pause awhile, rest, and rejuvenate.