the path

When I was a teenager, I had a poster on my wall of a little girl walking down a dirt path. The image was of the back of the girl and just ten steps ahead was a bend in the path. This image was compelling and has stayed with me into my adult years.

Today at brunch with my dear friend and teacher, she reminded me of the importance in HOW we walk the path by sharing that she was embarking on a new journey with no ties to the outcome or where it will lead. She reminded me that the purpose is the journey, not the destination.

For so many of us, that bend in the path calls up fear of the unknown and plenty of excuses not to begin walking the path at all.

We all have a path to walk with countless bends and absolutely no guarantees. This is an inescapable fact of being human. And while many people spend time in opposition to this fact, it is the most wonderful aspect of the human experience. Unknowns provide opportunities to dream, ponder, be curious and to grow in accordance to what we find around the bend.

I wonder if the difference between a life well-lived and a life in a rut is merely the difference in how we perceive bends in the road. When we approach the unknown with fear, we conjure up untrue stories (excuses) based on other less joyful experiences we have had in our lives or based on what others have said (filtered through their own fears). We stay stuck, stagnant, unchanged and disappointed in ourselves for not trying.

But, when we approach the bend in the path from a place of love, we engage in curiosity and wonder... hope and possibility. This way of viewing the unknown gives us a boost into self-actualization and permits us to relax into the flow of life. In this state of being, we gain a sense that no matter what lies around the bend, it is all okay.