Just when you think you're on the path, something comes along and pulls you in circles. It could be a thought, a doubt, a shiny bauble that beckons and lures you. You follow it, perhaps for a few steps, a few miles, a few days, or weeks or even years. It takes you on a journey in and of itself, spiraling you deep into its core and then back out again, until you are released, dumped, spit out, unceremoniously back onto your path.
Years ago I was working for a woman who had come through a divorce, moved from California to Colorado, and now owned her own weaving business. She had been married for probably 20 years, and had three children who were in high school and college. She shared how she felt her marriage had been a time where she had given up being herself - an intellectual, an artist, an independent woman, and it was as though she had stepped out of her life for all of that time. Now, divorced and single, she had stepped back into life and back on to her path.
Her story has always stayed with me. How many people have lived their lives like this? Where they are not really living their life, but the life someone else had imagined for them, who they thought they should be? How many people step off their path to walk someone else's path and feel like a visitor in their own lives?
Walking in spirals. It is not separate from the journey. It is all part of the journey - the human journey. Perhaps the path was never designed to be walked in a straight line, but to be zigzagged and walked in spirals. The straight line is like the ley line with its magnetic pull and resonance. When we get too far off or away from our personal ley line, its magnetism pulls us back. We get back on track, only to wander off again, lured by our conditioning, thoughts and beliefs that our out of alignment with our true, authentic and soulful selves.
How do we know when we are on our soul's ley line? How do we know when we are not? How do we discern the difference?
While I walked to Auch in France this past October, my walking sister, Beebe, and I played with this. We walked the "Chemin" - the French word for the Camino, or the Way, by following a route that has been adapted by the French into the countrywide mapping system of "grandes redonnees" - great paths. The Chemin existed long before any maps and was the pilgrimage routes through France over the Pyrenees into Spain and ultimately, to Santiago in the remote northwest corner of Spain. How did people a thousand years ago know where to walk? There were no maps or guidebooks, not like we have today. The path these days in both a combination of the original, "true" Camino and more modern paths that accommodate both urban development and the hiker's desire to hike up and down big mountains and hills. Pilgrims who were walking for days and months would not have been looking for the challenge of climbing the tallest mountains in the area. They would have walked the most naturally conducive paths to traveling through an area. The original Camino would have followed water ways, such as creeks and rivers that would have created natural clearings and passes.
Given this, Beebe and I would ask "are we on The Path, or are we just on the path?" We would quietly tune in to the environment we were walking through. We would open and heighten our senses, and feel into the question. Inevitably, the answer was viscerally clear. When we were on the path, it was as if we could feel a hum, an aliveness. The flowers were bursting with color and scent, and the insects were busily flying nearby. I would feel happy, energized, and light in my being. In contrast, when we were just on a path, while it still may have been beautiful and bucolic, it tended to be quieter, less alive, less dynamic. It was fine and good, but not wonderful and great. It was un-memorable.
The more days we walked, the more we could tune in and discern the difference. On the last day, we were walking on some open hills. One moment, we were on the Way, and as we made a left turn, we left the way to walk on a path. We could feel the lowered vibration, and a dullness and heaviness come into our walk. Such an interesting experience!
How do we translate this fine-tuned discernment into our daily lives at home when we are not walking a sacred path, but working, driving kids, fixing dinner, doing dishes? How to we bring home this capacity to know when we are living aligned with our soul's true path, and when we have gotten sidetracked and caught in the busy-ness of life of the physical plane?
What do you do? When and how do you know when you are totally in alignment and resonance? And also when you are not?
*it is solved through walking