Note, I didn’t say “finding” your path. You’re already walking it, no matter where you are in life. Your path doesn’t need to be found. Whether you feel like you’re creeping fearfully through a dark alleyway, or wandering a vast desert, no matter how “wrong” it might feel in the moment, that’s more an indication of your alignment and acceptance of the path than anything else.
You can’t really be on the wrong path!
However, you can have no earthly idea what your path is called, or where it’s going. And missing those two pieces of the puzzle can certainly make you feel like you’re on the wrong path, or certainly leave you dissatisfied with your journey.
So how do you come to a better understanding of your path? How do you know what to call it, and where it’s leading? Here is my guidance to you. If you’re feeling lost, like you’re at square one, and scared, try these two things, in order:
An analogy comes to mind (when doesn’t it with me…). When inexperienced swimmers are scared, and fearful of drowning, they thrash. They fight against the water as if it means to swallow them whole, and all this does is make it harder for them to float. The reality is that if you are calm, if you allow water to do its thing, you won’t drown. Water is buoyant. We are built in such a way that it is natural for us to not drown. Do you follow?
Extend this analogy to walking your path, it even works with the concept of hiking. A panicked and fearful mind is more likely to get you walking in circles and lost in the woods than stopping where you are, getting calm, and waiting for someone to find you.
Surrender. Float. Sit down. Fear that you’re on the wrong path, or never going to get to your destination will make things worse. So take a moment to rest. Don’t worry about the particulars, or that you’re not going anywhere. You’re always moving forward, even when you’re at rest.
In this state, like the inexperienced swimmer who’s floating on their back and staring at the stars, or the lost hiker who has settled onto a fallen log, you can start to pay attention to where you really are, and what’s really going on. You can begin to receive input from those that love you, both living and not, and read the signs that are always there to guide you. During this state of surrender you can begin to take stock. Where do you feel a pull? Does your gut say to head due North, towards the people and circumstances that you feel will support you? Or is there a nagging feeling that you need a light diversion. Do you want to go and visit that stream that sounds so lovely?
Get yourself a drink of water. Pay attention to the sounds of the birds. This is step one to knowing where you are, and where you want to go.
2. Start Walking Again
Alright, this sounds like a cop-out, I know.
“Hey, I was walking before! How is it going to be any different this time?!”
It will be different. I promise. Because you’ve already had a bit of practice at surrendering, and taking a good long and appreciative look at your surroundings. You will be better equipped to walk peacefully along your path rather than running in circles. During your time of surrender, you will have gotten a taste for where you want to go. You’ll have seen the cottage you’re headed for. You’ll have imagined the grand adventure, and felt excitement to keep going. Now, all that’s left is putting one foot in front of the other. Setting out with optimism. Trying. And with each step, with each milestone, and each change of scenery, you’ll start to realize that you’re not blindly following the beaten path before you.
You’re deciding where you want to go. You’re creating your path, bringing into your reality the people, places, and things you need, at exactly the right time that they’re needed, to get you where you want to go. This may mean that you encounter a road block, and if you do…you know what? You needed it.
You may encounter another stretch of path that has you feeling lost and scared…and you know what? You may need another round of surrender to get back in alignment with yourself.
I’m trying to make this sound simple, because it is, but at the same time I don’t want you to feel that you’re doing something wrong if you struggle with this. You’re not doing anything wrong. You can’t do anything wrong.
Struggle is a signal that something needs to be better understood. Roll with it, my friend. Even a struggle is an opportunity for fun, and success is that much sweeter when you have met (and overcome) a challenge with grace, and enthusiasm.