I’m once again at that place in the journey of life where I think I need to make a choice about which direction to take. My mind is buzzing with the usual questions: What if I follow my heart? Will I earn money if do that? Why is this so hard? Can someone help me please? My shoulders slump and my head turns to the ground.
The film in my mind seems to be showing that classic blockbuster of all the times I have been here before, the good times and the bad, where sometimes it was me that made the choice and others where it was made for me. As my eyes look at the ground beneath my feet, I can feel the pressure of getting it right. Luckily a question comes to my rescue: What does it mean to get it right? A chink of light opens through the greyness, but’s its not what I imagine. I find myself becoming aware of the sadness that is present in the moment, and just before I slip into the inevitable downward spiral of regret, I catch a fresh whiff of the sadness. It has a dignity to it that I have never allowed myself to experience. It feels as though the sadness is standing up for all those choices that were not taken—the “what might have beens”—because they had fought hard for a place at the crossroads even if they weren’t chosen.
A sense of respect starts to emerge for all the steps and mis-steps I have taken or not taken so far, and slowly I raise my head.
Out of the corner of my eye I catch sight of a leaf glistening in the morning frost. I slowly move my head and take in the beauty around me.
I become aware of the taste of honey on my toast, the touch of a hand. I might still be at the crossroads but now there is an engagement with sensing all that appears in this place. A walk with a friend is no longer just another chance to go over the options but a reminder of the companionship that makes it possible to stand here.
As the presence of life soaks into my body, I find myself relaxing; there is no hurry. The anxiety to get it right is replaced by an awakening to the joy of possibility, which in turn allows me to relax more.
After days of searching, an insight appears: maybe it doesn’t matter what road I choose, but how I am going to walk.
And then another: maybe all the roads lead to the same place. With that comes a new question: Do I know where it is I am heading for?
The crossroads it seems has turned into an oasis. It is an oppauthortunity to reflect on what has been and what will be, to see how rich and extraordinary this moment is. I am no longer mechanically seeking to get to the right answer, but I have arrived at the very essence of what I am looking for—an authentic and fulfilling life.
- Spiritual Inquiry by Lee Irwin