Please allow first my sincerest apologies to those of you who witnessed my fall from the face of the earth. I’ve spent much of the year in fierce pursuit of an unshakable stir to unplug. To which end- finally- I’m uncovering a most valuable life lesson.
It probably begins with the fact that most of my earth-bound existence I’ve been a person so burdened with my own curiosity that its near impossible for me to resist the unavoidable urges to trail off after hidden treasures just out of sight. This applies to both pavement and life. I can get lost for hours- even days- in a task if I give myself the space my soul craves.
It’s been a while since I’ve done that.
Until… the stir.
A couple weeks ago, I went for a really long run. I mean like ten miles long. Now I’m not a hard-core runner. I don’t go fast. Not at all. My gift is to keep going when it feels like I’m dying. That said, I can pick up and go for a long one out of nowhere.
If I have the time.
Well it took about eight months to get there. But finally I’ve created the space for just such a venture. So I’m a few miles into it, and I have a revelation. I begin to consider that while I’ve spent a lifetime veering off the path in my queries over the mysteries of life, there’s another question to ponder: What might happen if I stayed ON the path instead? It simply thrills me when the answer meets me right here, in the quiet of this moment. I just might arrive somewhere. If I stay on it long enough. Powered by this shift in perspective, I happily trek on. Passing by all opportunity to detour. #Undetoured
Just color me inspired.
Before long, I’m treading into territory I haven’t yet traveled. It’s scenic and quiet. And far enough away to hear myself think. Something magical indeed. When I do in fact arrive somewhere just a little ways farther down the road, I am elated. Somewhere being a cute little restaurant with outdoor seating and tealights. It’s a popular setting for the locals here. With a trail in the back that leads to a really great view of the water.
This is the soul food I desperately need.
When I look at my life, I can see that I’ve taken this road as well. Quite neurotically. I’ve become so fixated on a project or goal… on arriving… that I’ve been passing by all the really great rest stops on the way. I’ve worked so hard to correct this little detouring glitch in my wiring that some time ago, something clicked in my settings. They were altered. I became a modified version of myself, and my default was fixed to keep going-going-going until I don’t know when. Rest wasn’t built into my settings anymore. I didn’t know how. I’m still working on that.
Let’s come back to today. All of this thought reaches another dimension. It’s about recognizing those forks in the road that lead to rest and when the time is right to take them. I realize with my critical brain that there are times when rest may be available but perhaps unwise if better rest is just ahead. That feels important to acknowledge. It’s not saying I can’t rest. It’s saying not here. Somewhere nicer. And other times, rest is necessary. Even if conditions aren’t best. It’s a matter of learning to survey the landscape I’m treading and discerning how best to respond to what I observe. It’s being intentional about how I choose to nourish my soul. A simple matter of asking myself the questions that matter.
- Does this path lead to shelter?
- Is it a good spot for recharging?
- What kind of people lodge here?
- Is there danger ahead?
- Which way are the others going?
There’s nothing wrong with going where the herd does. There may be a reason people flock to a certain pasture. Neither is there anything wrong with asking what kind of people migrate one way or another. Are they refreshed? Are they moving toward things I want out of life?
If you’re afraid to risk intimacy with others (like I am), traveling solo has its appeal. But you miss out on so much. There are many benefits to sharing the journey with others. First in my mind is that you’re less vulnerable to predators. Second is the insight you gain from the experience of others. I don’t have to make ALL the choices. Where we end up isn’t on my shoulders alone. Other people share the responsibility for arriving at our destination. I like that. It means I don’t have to sleep with one eye open. Skip meals. Or drive without breaks. I don’t have to worry I’m missing important road signs and landmarks. My eyes aren’t working alone anymore. And at the end of the day, the company is just nice. I think it’s safe to admit that. Even if it is scary.
Listen, here’s the lesson on the other side of the dirt trails. It’s my journey. I get to choose who I want to travel alongside. So do you. But I hope you’re not traveling alone. Cause you don’t have to. That’s a choice.