I have personally been struggling with the idea of having a path. I want a path and I also feel claustrophobic and hemmed in by stating a path out loud as if my intention is to stay on that path forever. I think I struggle with coming to terms with what I have been taught and what I am coming to know, in a deep soul way. I was taught to plan and make goals and through that process life was achievable. At some point that message turned into planning as the end goal almost for planning’s sake. Said another way, the goal did not matter as much as having one did. So I chose a goal and planned and met that goal.
Pretty shortly after starting teaching, I knew it was not for me. Teaching was a whole new level of overwhelming, but I stayed the path for a number of years. I improved and grew. I became a better teacher. I set boundaries to prevent physical burnout. What I did not do was to take steps to prevent burnout of my soul. I am an empathetic person by nature. I scare easily, I feel all the feelings. Caring for the needs of others trumped my caring for myself. I lost myself in teaching and my body responded in kind. I was trying to get enough sleep, but my mind was filled with worries about students and mundane details of my job. I was unable to turn it off. It was unsustainable and I quit. I did not quit midyear or all of a sudden. I quit 2-3 years in. Since quitting I have grown and learned a lot. I have started tending to my soul, caring for myself so my interactions with others can be authentic and present rather than filled with stress and anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, this is still an active work in process, but I am glad to be taking the time to grow. Nothing has changed, and yet everything has. I have been able to shift my mind to be considering life from a healthier place. I am able to be more reflective and aware of how my thoughts influence a situation.
One way this is still working itself out is the idea of having a path in life. I so desperately want a path or a goal to work towards, but I know right now I want it for the wrong reason. Yes, I can accomplish goals, I have learned that, but there is a pointlessness in goals for goals sake. Joseph Campbell once said “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” I find this statement to be so true, usually I paraphrase that if you can see all the steps you are just trying to copy someone else’s path. So my path right now is unclear, it is unsteady. I have inklings of ideas, but in general I am just staying open. I know that sometimes what you learn from the moments of waiting and anticipation are more important than charging ahead in the wrong direction. I am choosing pathlessness. I am choosing to be open and aware and accepting. I have no clear path and I am learning to be okay with that.