There are as many roads to Spirit as there are souls to walk them.
When I first began this journey to self, I was so confused. I was unsure where or how or even if I should begin. Then, I reached a point in my life where the pain of living was worse than the fear of diving into it. I gritted my teeth and made a decision that I was going to try to figure out why I was so unhappy.
The key seemed to be somewhere in my childhood, which pointed me towards therapy, but I doubted there was much hope in that realm. I knew myself better than they ever could, right? What could they possibly tell me that I didn’t already know?
Those questions make me smile now, the way a mother might smile at a toddler who is trying to fit a square puzzle piece into a star-shaped hole. Hindsight sheds a completely different light on everything.
In May of 2007, when I first resigned myself to the fact that I could not find my way alone, I sifted through names of therapists in the phone book and on line, wondering how to choose. It felt so entirely random, like spinning blindly round and round and then stumbling forward onto whatever path happened to be in front of me.
The path turned out to be dark, steep, and uneven. I stumbled often and hit the ground hard. Even though I tried to grab onto anything within reach, I was unable to see the one who was always there, ready to catch me. The word lost is so fitting. I felt utterly and hopelessly lost. Often I had no idea there was a path at all as I crawled through the muck of memory, the pain of the past, and all the ugly and shameful secrets I’d kept even from myself.
My life is so different now. The path I’m on is warm and well lit, and mostly smooth and safe. I can see for miles and the view is spectacular. Sometimes I falter and fall anyway, but I’m much quicker at finding the hand that is always there to help me up. I tend to the scrapes and bruises, and I cry and shout if I need to, and then I get up and look around me, remembering who I am.
It’s most amazing to look back. When I search that path behind me, I see that nothing was really random or left to chance, and I was never really on my own, at all. Every step and stumble was waiting for me, planned with care to bring me to this time and place, where I’m meant to be.
And also, when I look back, I see some very sad and angry people who are still lost. My parents wander a darkened path. It will never make sense to me because that is not part of my journey. I can’t walk it for them as much as they would like me to. With care, I can give them what I have to give but I will never let them drag me away from my path for very long, again.
Sometimes I have hope, even for them. Maybe they will notice how bright and balmy it is here where I am. Maybe a little of this light will filter through and show them where to safely take a step and illuminate the hand that is there, always there, to help them up from the depths into which they’ve fallen.
Even if that is not how it happens, what we all go through is eventually going to lead us to the place we're meant to be. That makes the stumbles less terrifying, the ground less hard and rocky, the getting up so much easier, and the walk itself wondrous and joyful - which is more than I ever imagined possible.