“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
This inspiring quote speaks to me because I’ve been on a journey without a path for almost 20 years; along the way I’ve forged a trail of writing, working and living that’s increasingly authentic to the core of my being.
It’s an on-going process as my commitment to excavating the essence of who I am is leading me to translate my discoveries into everyday life more and more accurately as my experience matures.
Re-Write the Script
Nevertheless it’s often challenging to do so and I know only too well how tough it is to release the beliefs relating to the well-trodden path that I was certainly encouraged to follow.
In fact, despite my naturally rebellious spirit, it took many years for me to realize fully that I could re-write the script regarding what success in work and life should look like and include.
Now I know that forging your authentic path means you’re free to come up with your own definitions of what’s genuinely important and what success truly means for you.
However hard it may be to go where there is no path, the exhilarating freedom, unlimited potential, depth of purpose and expansive rewards make every second spent stretching beyond your comfort zone worthwhile.
My time spent on the path of “no path” has taught me more than I’ll ever be able to express in words.
Yet there are 3 essentials I’ve discovered that support you to find your way when the steps ahead aren’t set in stone and the call to adventure on your individual Hero’s Journey can’t be ignored:
The initial leap into the unknown – whatever way that manifests for you – always includes feeling simultaneously excited and scared.
When I walked away from my career in publishing after 12 successful years, I felt completely liberated with a strong undercurrent of “what if” anxiety.
It took courage to cross the threshold into an uncertain future and it has required courage to stay the course, especially during the inevitable challenges when the comfort of guaranteed work and regular income beckoned.
In those moments, what’s kept me on the path I’m continuing to forge is a commitment to my purpose and the ability to trust the Divine Plan when I don’t know what to do next (which occurs more frequently than you might imagine!)
If you’d asked me 20 years ago what my purpose was I wouldn’t have been able to articulate a clear response.
In the early days of crafting my own way forwards, I was still aligned with the mission of my publishing role, namely “to communicate perennial wisdom for a contemporary international audience”.
However, I wasn’t conscious of my individual purpose despite feeling an intuitive sense that there was a new level of intention for me to discover as part of my new way of being in the world.
I’ve been consciously nurturing this seed of clarity within me ever since.
As a result, the layers that have obscured my complete realization of the most authentic ways to embody my purpose continue to dissolve.
Going where there is no path and leaving a trail is a way of life that’s filled with uncertainty.
This is usually deeply unsettling, especially as the illusion of certainty is so appealing to the part of you that loves to have everything pinned down.
Yet, sooner or later, the recognition surfaces that nothing is certain apart from change.
What I’ve found is that beneath the fear of uncertainty is an innate sense of trust – in the big picture, the universe, the Divine Plan, Source… whatever words work for you.
When you’re able to remain in trust in the face of uncertainty, you can live on the edge of what spiritual teacher Adyashanti describes as a “dynamic state of constant discovery”.
Your version of going where there is no path and leaving a trail is likely to take a very different form to mine.
It may simply include seeing your current situation with new eyes, then making conscious choices and taking awakened actions that are appropriate to your circumstances and authentic to you.
However you interpret Emerson’s words, I encourage you to draw strength from your natural sense of courage, purpose and trust to see what’s possible when you follow the call to step into the unknown.
What are your feelings about your current path and the trail you’re leaving? Please take a moment to share your comments below. Thank you!