The Road Less Traveled By

I have my shit together 99% of the time, so to speak. But there's always one day that seems to unravel all I've worked for. Months and sometimes years of effort is washed away by a bad decision, by an unlucky break, or by an unleashed coil of frustration.

Sometimes there is a reason for what happens, sometimes there isn't. There's always a lesson involved, yet the learning experiences come and go and never stave off that next awful day.

Sometimes it's an illness or an injury. Other times it's the loss of a friendship. The death of a loved one. Or it's our inability to get out of our own way, to stop and think before we act.

At moments like these it feels as if all's for naught. Hopelessness sets in, reality turns dark gray. Why go on? Why work hard or do what is right when one bad day can ruin everything?

These are watershed moments. When live diverges, when we have a choice to make. To not care, or to grow. I have certainly had my moments when I caved, when I didn't care enough to try to go forward. Nothing was ever won, and I never tasted satisfaction. My life has turned out okay despite that, but I will always wonder what could have been.

For some things I refuse to wonder. I must know.

I'm getting older. I'm growing more aware. When faced with these watershed moments I no longer wish to not care. I want to stand up and take the challenge.

If it means I have to grow emotionally, I'll do it. I'll stretch my comfort zones like matter in the early Universe stretched space.

I don't have to give up. I can push through. I know what I want, and I know what I have to make myself do to get it.

But all before me is uncertainty. What am I to do with that? Uncertainty is inevitable when a single road diverges. We can be on a path for so long that it's grown quite comfortable. To turn either left or right is to drive away from the known.

Sometimes two people carry along together on that path and find they need to go in separate directions.

One path may be quite ordinary, and yet to go that way is to lose a traveling partner.

The other path may require the loss of the self.

In the end the decision hinges on a question. Who is more important? Self? Other?

Will we stay on the road we know will be most safe to the self? (Sheltered, protected, hidden away.)

Or will we venture the other way, risking self for someone else? (Risk, vulnerability.)

I have spent 25 years of my life living for myself, living scared, close to the vest, conservatively. It's had its advantages and has contained some hidden treasures, but I've outgrown its usefulness.

It's time for me to step outside of myself and live for someone else for a change. To be aware of others as I have always been aware of myself.

Spiritually this means something very straight-forward, if not simple. To realize the Cosmos' oneness isn't to see others as self, but to see self as others.

I do not believe that it matters then that we choose the path that requires the loss of self. Self can always be redefined. It's not possible to go back in time and live life over.

Don't be afraid to sacrifice something of who you are to lift up the person or people you love. Be something bigger than you. Be another.

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4 Responses to The Road Less Traveled By

  1. There are a lot of thoughts in this. A lot of issues that we all face some time in life. A few of my 'mantras' came to my mind as I read each issue "All things Pass, this too will". 'It is better to try and fail than to not try at all/ we will never know until we try'. " we have to empty our hands to make space for the new/let go" The third one is most difficult as we are used to what is in our hand and do not know what is going to be kept into our hand. But then some risks are worth taking.

    1. Those are good mantras. It's good to remember something to help keep life in focus. Thank you.

  2. Thoughts inspired by this:
    "Do we ever stop and feel, as opposed to stop and think?"
    "You cannot lose self. A path that requires 'loss of self' simply requires 'change of self'. Self is both pre-existing and discovered.

    I often consider birth as self as a ball of clay and our life the process of shaping the clay into what we choose. More recently, I've been considering a more - chiseling - form of art as possibly more accurate."

    1. I agree, we change, but we cannot lose the self. What I consider my true self, that which I reside in when I meditate, will never change. But the activities I identify with certainly can and will.

      Working with clay builds identification. Chiseling away removes this to find the true self, at least in my experience.


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