many ways to get there

As I work to revive my blogging habit, I’m struck by the changes in my life since 2011. That’s nothing new, really. Looking back over years’ worth of posts would drive home lessons about impermanence for anyone. But I’m starting to see something more in the traces of paths left in the sand.

I used to think my life – my spiritual path – was like the golden squiggle in the photo above: meandering, but getting there. Now, five years later, it looks more like the other loops. The ones that lunge off the page and loop back on themselves, circling ’round and ’round. Maybe even running backwards. Or stubbing off into dead ends. Half-visible.

Reaching back into the 2000’s (what do we call those years now – the “aughts”, or “naughts”?), reveals an even more tangled trajectory.

The traces make the path more interesting.

They show me that no matter how I’m getting there, no matter what route I undertake with vigor, or simply fail to choose, it still feels like progress. It’s just a new and different set of lessons.

In 2015 I still clung delightedly yet desperately to my guides via pendulum and chart. They helped me divine everything from what to eat next, to when to get in the car and drive away. I documented the minutiae of hyper-vivid dreams, pored over channeled words, coaxed meaning from them as if they drew the map of my future and chronicled my past.

And they did. I believed that, like I believed breathing air kept me alive. And it was no mistake.

But after my first concussion in 2016, things changed.

I was so busy adjusting to the differences in my brain and body, I didn’t have the time or energy to think about what was happening in alternate dimensions or universes. I lived in the evident and material. Survived. Healed the body. At that point, when a few things didn’t go the way I wanted… and then a few more things went downright badly… there was no point in whipping the pendulum chart out of my back pocket. I didn’t have the time. It was a slingshot roller-coaster.

My territory became uncharted. I didn’t want to see a chart, because I didn’t need any more decoy “advice” to teach me another lesson or two. Without a map, I gave up the driving part and decided to sit back in coach. Watch the scenery.

Thankfully, my guides adapted. They shut up and let me rest.

Instead of staying up until 2am writing a post or channeling sketches of alternate universes, then waking up at 5am to do my prayers, now I sit back, drift off to sleep, and let my shrine get dusty. I arrive at work late. Instead of sitting, pen in hand, waiting for dramatic revelations and stimulating verbal sparring in the evenings, I just go to bed and wake up the next morning (thankfully) to see what the day will bring. Instead of me trying to get my guides to show their hands, I just follow along.

It’s easier, yet harder. Easy when I let go, hard when I let guilt or self-doubt get a foothold on the running board.

My guides are in charge now, more than ever before, simply because I’ve abdicated. For the time being. Maybe that’s faith. That conclusion sounds good, and it’s reasonable. I spent years building a foundation of faith. The Crew more than proved their presence to me. Of course they’re not going to abandon me just because my brain works differently now.

But inside the silence lingers a faint after-taste of guilt. Subtle as a mote of dust tickling my nostril, and just as annoying. If I focus on the quiet too much, it feels like I’m not giving life my “all”. Because I used to do so much more.

I’ve been sick a lot this year, and lately I’ve been thinking about how, ten years ago, perceiving the threat of chronic illness, I sat for hours meditating, willing my guides to heal me. Nowadays I catch myself wondering whether I’m cursing myself, by not sitting on the cushion every chance I get.

What bullshit. Haven’t I learned anything?

So I remind myself, with a modicum of confidence: whatever the destination, there are many ways to get there. Not only many routes to take, but also countless way to travel them.

And it doesn’t seem to matter what I think the goal is, in my life at least. It changes daily, and there’s no way I could keep up with it.

With guidance and protection, even pain and uncertainty can become gifts. Being forced to release spiritual ambition lets me sleep better at night.

So I’m getting to see it first-hand: it really must be about the journey, after all. And letting go.

 

(image, modified & cropped) Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. “The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons