Elizabeth Kubler-Ross writes, “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” If we think of life as a journey, then we know that the path isn’t always clear. Today we have more than the usual events and people impacting our lives. We’re experiencing a global health crisis, along with an urgent call to for deep social and political change.
Add to that the burdens of ongoing personal health challenges, family relationship stress, and reduced social contact, and we may feel like we’re somewhere in the depths that Kubler-Ross describes. This is an easy place to get stuck. We can get into obsessive thought patterns and lose sleep over what the future may hold. But the future has always been unpredictable. We help ourselves when we stop overanalyzing and remember that the only place we can find our way is in the present moment.
This moment is our chance to courageously go out and create our own customized path. We grow as we bump up against limits, make mistakes, and take wrong turns. It’s then that we discover that the wrong turn was the only way we could have found the right path. Eckhart Tolle writes, “Any action is better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you have learned something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck you learn nothing.”
We find our way when we start with simple small steps: one healthy addition to our diet, one attitude change, one exercise for our body, one act of forgiveness, one action for unity, one project finished. Over time these small steps create a strong path that we could never have imagined before beginning the process. Every time we boldly take a step we clarify the right path for us. Our path is the sum of all those simple, small steps that lead to everything we dream and do.
We find our way when we are aware of the influences around us. Since we don’t live in complete isolation, we need to be sensitive to how constant “news watching” affects us, what kind of people we spend time communicating with, what our relationship is to alcohol or drugs, and what amount of time we give to meditation and spiritual practices. These are all relevant influences that can have either a negative or positive affect on our ability to find our way. When our next step provides us with an opportunity, we need to determine if this is a good fit — a step in the right direction.
We find our way when we believe in ourselves. This may mean saying “no” to what other people think we should be doing with our life. This is our path, not theirs, so let’s avoid the seeds of self-doubt. Part of believing in ourselves is listening to our inner guidance that knows what we need most. The more we do this the better we become at hearing its voice. But to do this we must be quiet. It’s hard to hear one voice in a noisy crowd, so we need to step away from busyness to listen.
We find our way when we know what fulfills us. This is learned through personal growth and development, until our priorities are clear and we are able to live fully expressing our gifts. If something feels meaningful, joyful, and inspired, it is a “path-finder clue” to be followed. The question I most often ask is, “Is this worth my precious life energy?” If it is, it’s worth pursuing. When we wake up each morning with a spirit of gratitude for another day, we are living in fulfillment no matter what tasks the day may hold. We each have our own timeline for finding our way to what fulfills us, so we need to be patient with each other. Rumi sums it up best: “If light is in your heart you will find your way home.”
We’re all going through major events right now. As Kubler-Ross wrote above, let’s take comfort knowing that we’re finding our way out of this difficult time and becoming more deeply loving, compassionate, and gentle because of it. We’re finding our way into more appreciation, sensitivity, and understanding. We’re finding new inner strength and peace. We’re leaving fear for love, and division for unity. Take solace in knowing we are finding our way.
Until Next Time – Sylvia