There is a tried and true path. A highway. Speedy. Ten sure-fire ways to big bucks and the corner office, SEO tricks, ways to get your name known and respected. Success almost by definition.
There is a dusty, bumpy path. Historical. Windy. Well-traveled over the years but not by the masses. Much slower but filled with memorable scenic opportunities and stories. Growing a business organically but very very slowly, signs on the doors of your store window that say hours "M-F: 8ish - close, closed 11-1 for lunch", painting from the heart but not much of anything that anyone else would want to purchase. Success self-defined but at the sacrifice of many monetary comforts.
And then - well, and then there's the history of my journey. Our journey. On the highway for a just a little bit to feel the wind in my face and the rush of success, then quickly off the exit ramp. Down the dusty trail for much longer, smelling the lavender fields along the way, yet tired and worn and frustrated at the rushing sounds from the highway. It is here I have paused at a dark but clean rest stop as I sip a machine-bought diet coke and ponder.
We're all headed to the same place. We're all in the same land. There's so much judgment between paths - trail-go-ers peering over to the highwaymen, sighing with a condescending smile - oh, if only they knew what they were missing. The drivers of the fast-moving cars, glancing over occasionally to the trail wanderers, tsking as if to say at least I'm glad I'm making something of my life.
Those on the other side of the mountain where the road and the trail meet in one place all look back over their shoulders and realize simultaneously their successes and everything on which they missed out...no matter which path they took. On this huge, sandy, beautiful beach on the other side of the mountainous middle age of life, there are miles of un-touched beauty. A few footprints wandering here and there outside of a deep rut of road and trail where almost everyone has bumped into realization.
It is a realization that this path - road or trail - isn't all there is. That the grasses, the mountains, the rocks, the snow, the warm red sun, the sky...they all wait patiently to be explored, or at least acknowledged. Without judgment, they look on and softly smile. Life goes on.
It is where I am. I am at the rest stop and, perhaps for the first time, deeply aware of paths outside of right and wrong, of good and bad, of fast and slow.
The highway calls to me. Oh how awesome it feels to rush along, to get so many new followers in 24 hours, to discover a new "power person" - be it artist, blogger, coach, yogi - and to be recognized by that person. To work hard and have that hard work rewarded by the masses...through accolades and money. But I am always aware of what else I am speeding by. So I cannot yet jump on the on-ramp.
The trail calls to me. The sensual delights that are experienced when traveling slowly are indescribable. The people you meet along the way, each consciously struggling along this path, are often delightfully good travelling companions. And yet, I hear the rush of cars in the distance and long to feel that thrill. I ache for the security that money can bring. So I cannot yet start back on the trail.
How essential, how freeing, how utterly lost it feels to realize that neither path is right or wrong!! That there is no other person who can tell me which way to take, no religion, no science, no guru who has THE answers. That if I truly believe in what I see as I sit here on this picnic bench and view the mountains before me, if I trust what the wind tells me as I deeply breathe it into my body....that all of this is just here to be experienced.
There are consequences to every breath.
There are consequences to the path I choose, the way in which I drive or walk it, what I notice or don't along the way, even how long I choose to sit here. Life is going on.
There are consequences if I decide to open at Etsy shop to sell my work, if I decide to paint or collage or write poetry, if I decide to teach yoga locally or via video or not at all, if I choose to focus more time on my kids and PTO activities....if I choose to walk another step conscious of my decisions or slip into a more unawakened but comfortable way of living.
There are no rights or wrongs in any of these decisions. Just ripples out into the ocean of my reality.
I can ask others how to drive faster - and I will. I can ask others how they deal with the hardships of the trail - and I will. But the trails I blaze in the end are my own, oddly unique from road and trail.
Now that I have seen the soft grasses and smelled just a hint of the crisp snow in that last breath and felt the rush of the wind in my face from the road, I cannot choose just one path. I refuse to slip into comfort, something known, at the sake of losing my awareness of all of this.
It will be a story-filled journey if nothing else. Certainly it will continue to be confusing and challenging not only for me, but for my husband, our family, and possibly even for you.
But it is an exciting journey and I am damn sure I am going to make it one of my choosing. I hope you'll join me, if only through reading but possibly as a travelling companion. Who knows what we'll discover?
Next up: Finishing our drinks and starting the journey into selling art or making videos or writing a book or creating a website or doing none of that and jumping into the PTO or all of it or .....???