Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth -- that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too.
-- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
What is your path? The key word here is your. There are many paths, crossroads, and choices in life. Only you -- you and your deepest truth -- can choose the path that is best for you.
But is there only one right path or are there several? Are we punished or do we suffer if we choose the wrong path? Our perfectionist and fearful minds have us dreading failure or the “wrong” decision and the inevitable consequences of our mistakes. So, we settle or freeze.
How much time and energy have you spent searching for -- or fearfully avoiding -- your path? You may not know who you are. You may have given your power away so much that you have forgotten that your needs count. You may be so disconnected from your feelings that you have no idea what brings you joy.
"Normal" Is Someone Else's "Shoulds"
What made us so afraid? Where is our passion? Our minds and egos are often in control. Furthermore, like drinking alcohol, our minds are under the influence of our external environment, the cacophony of family or cultural voices, and our societal “norms.”
Normal is not always healthy or healing! Normal is being led by outside authority figures that are often lost themselves. We are told we should get an education, we should go to college, we should get a PhD., we should be a doctor or an attorney. Or, perhaps we shouldn’t go to college -- that’s for rich or smart people. We should be a waiter, or take over the family business, get to work and make money now. Either way, we choose from fear.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Our world needs all of us to stop doubting our deepest Selves and know that where there is a passion, there is a path. With a heartfelt trust, we can walk through the haze of uncertainty, knowing that our next step will become visible. The old ways begin to naturally close down behind us and propel us forward.
It is said, “If you follow the herd, you'll step in a lot of poop.” When we follow others, the view always remains the same, and it ain’t pretty. The closer we follow, the more it stinks!
Use What Talents You Possess
There is not some judgmental and castigating bearded dude in the sky waiting to punish us for not following the “right” path. It is true, though, that the path we choose has consequences, and if we do not follow our own dharma (path or duty), we may feel incompletion, resentment, or depression. When one person withholds their gifts or a part of themselves, it is a loss for all of us. Henry Van Dyke said, “Use what talents you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
When you make a choice of path, remember that it may be for a day, or a lifetime. So do not become attached. Focus and commit, yes, but moment to moment, we must be flexible and attentive and trust what feels right.
Not knowing your path is a good place to start. Sometimes not knowing keeps us from entering too soon, keeps us focused on something else first, which itself is part of the path. If you are not feeling a sense of joy and fulfillment in your life, then be with the path of emptiness or lack. Everything is our path, for it is beneath our feet, here and now. This is the essence of Zen.
What Gives You Joy?
What gives you joy? What touches your heart? The benevolent and abundant universe often offers us clues: What once gave you great joy may also have gotten you in trouble. You may have been invalidated for your zeal, by limiting, jealous, or wounded people. You may be a good listener, cook, organizer, dancer, writer, leader, mathematician, waitperson, or body worker. Trust yourself and make your passion your path. Whatever invites a song in your heart or a silly smile on your face is a sacred gift to our world.
When you do find something, enter it with as much passion and commitment as you can muster. Clear the mind of as much of the doubt, chatter, and critical voices as possible, and jump in with guts and gusto. This is the land of magic and miracles, where the mysterious forces of the universe back you easily, naturally, magnificently.
My mother loved to sing, but her life choices and low self-esteem restrained her voice. She sometimes told us that she wished she could return in her next life as a singer, and her last words before she died were, “Let’s all sing a song.”May we not wait too long to sing our song.
- During your daily activities, notice which ones help you feel alive and which ones drain you.
- Notice when daydreams arise -- what are they saying?
Contemplation: Your Path
- Breathe, and reflect: What would you like to commit to and make priorities for in your life?
- What is your mission? If you have no clue, ask the universe or God. Trust that you will be guided, and be open to how this guidance presents itself.
Reprinted with permission of the author Roy Holman,
Holman Health Connections. ©2010 by Roy Holman.
Healing Self, Healing Earth: Awakening Presence, Power, and Passion
by Roy Holman.
About the Author
Roy Holman is a certified Yoga, Meditation, and Healing Instructor who has been teaching personal growth and Earth stewardship for over ten years and leads retreats to Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Sedona, and in his home state of Washington. Roy also spent several years abroad doing human rights work in Central America. Visit his website at www.holmanhealthconnections.com.