November 2012

These days it’s popular to talk about your path, walking it, following it, being on it. For the last two years, I’ve been actively following my path, pursuing my dream of being a published novelist, but this is a relatively new chapter in the book of my life. In my own history, I took an exit ramp off my path and drove in the direction of a corporate career. I did this not once but twice in my relatively short quinquagenarian life. So when I recently heard Caroline Myss tell Oprah that you are never on the wrong path, I was shocked. Really? I was under the impression that during my corporate years, I had abandoned my path. Ever since then, I’ve been beating myself up over all the time I lost in deviating from what I see as my soul’s purpose. When Oprah also expressed some disbelief at this statement, Myss clarified it by saying if you feel like you are not on the right path, you are, but you’re just not managing it well. You’re making unwise choices that are harming you. And when your life path begins to harm you, you have taken a detour.

So I wasn’t that far off base. My detour left me psychically drained and almost cost me my soul. I compromised myself by making the harmful choice of rejecting what I felt to be my life calling. The truth is that every choice in life is either going to enhance or drain your spirit, and your body is the perfect barometer to gauge how well you are doing. It sends you strong signals, and you have a choice: you can either listen to the whispers or wait for the shouts. Most of us know when we’ve taken a detour. Something doesn’t feel right. There is a sense of unease that needs to be addressed or it will eventually turn into disease. But the concept that you are always on your path feels reassuring to me. In other words, it’s impossible not to walk in your own shoes. That means if you feel like you made an unwanted detour, you can use your inner GPS device to recalculate. You can start where you are and make different choices. All the decisions you’ve made up to this point have gotten you here, and if you don’t like where you are standing now, then make a different choice. Head off in a new direction, explore some new streets.

Everyone’s path is unique. For some, it is a trail through a forest; for others it’s the Champs Elysees. Whatever it is, keep walking. If the rain is driving into your face, stop under an awning and wait for the storm to pass. Or get yourself an umbrella. You may be staying on your particular street because it feels familiar to you, even if it isn’t comfortable. Maybe somebody said you didn’t deserve to walk around on the good side of town. You don’t have to believe them.  Try to avoid the suspicious characters loitering on the street corners. Don’t linger in the dark alleyways. Step into the light and keep going. You may not know where the path leads, but you’ll know when it feels right.

Ask yourself: are you skipping joyously or limping along with blisters on your feet? Stop blaming your shoes. Get a new pair that fits you better and start walking in different direction. It’s your choice.