Years ago, I veered from the norm. I “took the road less traveled” and that has indeed made all the difference. (Robert Frost) I only know vaguely why I did it. I have no idea where the courage came from that empowered me to make the unprecedented change. I only know I made a choice 40 years ago, that both saddened and enriched my life. I would make the same choice again for it led me to unexpected gifts of insight and understanding, the development of my talents, and a soul-satisfying journey that continues to nourish me today. “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” says Emerson. I did explore. I did take a unique journey. I did change lives. It was exciting. It was adventurous. It was lonely. It was lovely. And somehow, I was never afraid, I never altered, I stayed true to myself/ I explored. I absorbed. I choose. And I learned. Oh, how I learned. It was a path that only I could take based on where I was when I started on this path and what I needed to invite into my life in order to live my fullest.
Your path will be uniquely different because your “take” on life is unique from anyone else’s. Your path will depend on what you need, what you want, what skills and talents you develop, and the choices you make. Continually search out what works just for you. What will you discover if you go exploring? What will you learn? How will you change? Where will you end up? Unimagined adventure lies off the beaten path.
Your current world reflects your past choices
The choices you make today influence what shows up in your experience tomorrow. The form of your present life is the result of the responses, reactions and choices you made along your journey. Your current life experience is based on conscious and unconscious belief systems you have developed over the years. The manner in which your life unfolds is a combination of what you believe can happen and what you believe you deserve. If your current world needs changing, you must change your own belief system and adjust your expectations. Keep what you like in your world. Tweak what almost works and release what no longer serves you. Your current experience is a reflection of the beliefs and expectations that you currently hold. Is your current world exactly the way you want it to be?
Embrace a freedom of spirit
He is planted in his own integrity, and there he stands, gnarled and knotted, perfectly at ease with himself, his roots deep in truth, his branches held up to let the light in. Stephen Mitchell, Second book of Tao 19
Oh how I want that to be me! Can you imagine anything more powerful than a person who never wavers from the values she has embraced that make up her own unique truth? How strong. How steady. How inspiring. To stand in your own strength you have to be willing to stand alone. You have to be willing to be different. You have to question everything. You have to deepen your self-awareness. You have to be true to yourself and take full responsibility for everything you say and do and experience. Standing tall in your own integrity is a freedom and it is a responsibility. Notice how tall you are standing and where you are rooted. If you desire change, go exploring on a less traveled path and see where it leads you.
Fortify your personal foundation. How can you evolve your spiritual practice? What qualities are most important to you at this point in your life? How will you cultivate them? Continue to develop the qualities and values you wish to live by. Continue to push boundaries, explore unknown avenues and wander beyond all paths. Embrace the adventures that show up. Explore the choices that appear. Examine and question everything and make only choices that expand your personal potential.
Follow Your Intuition
Intuition is the universal mind in each of us. It is a source of wisdom, and guidance. It is your connection to the natural cycles of life. As you learn to listen to your intuition and trust its guidance, it will help you expand your boundaries, increase your expectations, and teach you the lessons that only you are ready to learn. Watch for the signs and signals that surround you and learn to interpret them. Listen to the insights of your intuition and follow them. Trust your instincts. Be open. Be receptive. Be adventurous.
Allow the way of today to simply be the way of today
“Everything is ready when one is ready. Nothing is ready when one is not ready. Hau Hu Ching, tr. Ni, Hu Ching 78
You can’t go exploring until you notice unexplored paths and you hear them call to you. You can’t decide to pursue an opportunity until you become aware of it. However, you can encourage new paths to open up. Continue to evolve your spiritual practice, practice mindfulness and stillness, encourage your intuition and become more consciously aware in every moment. New doors are always opening. New junctures in your path appear around every choice you make. What you do with an opportunity alters your direction. Not acting is actually an active choice. You pass someone in the hallway and you speak or you don’t speak. You think about deepening a relationship and you either do or you don’t take action. You consider changing jobs and you start either looking or training for a new one or you keep doing what you’ve been doing. The way of today is whatever it is. Utilize every moment of it.
Embrace your lessons
Everything is a lesson. Every encounter is an opportunity. Every choice leads in a new direction. Every difficulty is a preparation for victory. Begin a gratitude list for the difficulties you have encountered and add to that the lessons you learned and the benefits you have gained from that lesson. When life seems discordant, return to the center, to your inner self, to the peace within. Contemplate what you have learned and consult your intuition before you proceed.
Travel the unexplored path
My dreams are not dreams of worldly conquest. My dreams take me deeper within. My goal, my vision, my purpose is to sing a deeper song, whatever I figure out that means to me. Moving along my chosen path becomes a very personal journey. The results and affects of the twists and turns I take are unknown until they appear. As I focus my intentions and make my choices based on my beliefs and needs and wants, I find myself on paths I never knew existed. The path I choose takes the wanting and yearning out of my life as I stay ever-present as I journey along my path. My newly discovered path allows me to remove any regret about what was left undone. On my personal path there is only now. And in this now, there is everything. If how I express myself in this world makes a difference in the lives of other people, all the better. However, I know my major work lies deep within on the path I have yet to explore.
Apply your new insights to your life
In order to understand a concept you have to live it. You have to embrace the idea that resonates and figure out how to apply it to your life. As I begin to embrace the diversity of my surroundings, I write to gain understanding of what action I can take to expand my awareness and increase my ability to accept the beauty of unique self-expression. The study I do becomes an interactive connection from the physical plane to the spiritual plane within me. Although the reading stimulates my mind, understanding comes only when I can live the concepts from within. Every day I practice applying the insights I have discovered. Each day I meditate. Every day I increase my moments of mindfulness. Each day I get better at letting life unfold. It takes practice to incorporate your new insights. It takes patience. It takes perseverance. Go exploring. Take what you want to learn and apply it. That’s how you change.
Reside in your center
Think of one of those magical moments when whatever you are doing is so in alignment that the act is effortless. That is how it feels to be centered. You want to reside in your center. A comment can pull you off center; an unexpected circumstance can put you off balance. Fear, emotions, worries, judgments or anger can jar you away from the serenity that is always present within. Only you can return yourself to the stillness of your center. Avoid circumstances that pull you askew. Cultivate habits and awareness that help you stay in each moment. Learn to monitor your emotions and control them. Abide in the center of your being.
Flow like a river
Be like a leaf floating on the surface of life, enjoy the dips and swirls and trust the current to support you. Be like a cloud floating in the sky with no agenda other than to be. Become the stone standing strong and allow the river of life to flow around you. Be the stream than joins another stream to increase your power. Flow along in life and embrace whatever shows up.
To wander beyond all paths means being open to change
When you live in the moment, when you simply shape things as they come, you acquire a flow to your being, a serene readiness, and a conscious presence. Welcome change. Move with the flow. Be mindful. Be accepting. Wander beyond all paths and you will find adventure, knowledge, wisdom, and the new power of being true to yourself.