Tag Archives: journey

Building Roads

7 Jan

dsc_0238A couple weeks ago our family was playing the board game Catan. In it the players build roads, towns, and cities to get enough points to win.

I had drawn a card to build some road, and I said “I’ve got road to build but I don’t know where I want to go.”

In the context of the game, I was needing to figure out what my next strategic move was to best my opponents. But that phrase stuck with me.

All this road and I don’t know where I want to go. Kinda sounds like a country song.

But there is some hardcore truth in there too. Often I hear in spiritual circles to follow God, spirit, guidance etc. Yes, do that. But what happens when that becomes an excuse to not make any choices? When that becomes the reason we don’t set down our piece of road and commit, at least for the length of that piece of road?

Just at the beginning of the year we have a whole bunch of year in front of us. Maybe we know where we want to go, but maybe we only kinda sorta know. Maybe we are drifting in the sea of unknowing.

But just like me deciding where to put my road, a decision has to be made (or the folks you’re playing with start to get annoyed).

I think too often folks get caught up in the potential permanence of getting stuck in a decision, and that it will be the final answer for ever and ever so they stay put and stagnant, which is just another way to be stuck. But just like me deciding where to put my roads, there is more than one way to figure out what to do.

I can’t count how many times I have talked to someone getting out of a relationship and their bafflement of tolerating a certain behavior. I always say, well even if you don’t know exactly what you do want, at least you know what you don’t want! The clarity of knowing what you don’t want is an excellent step in the right direction. Because when you know what you don’t want, you have narrowed the left over choices. Yay!

I firmly believe there is a time for rest and a time for action, taking time to get centered, clear, and confident is essential. But what if the grand revelation you’re waiting for to take a bold step isn’t a blinding light on the road to Tarsus, or an apple falling on your head. What if it’s your barista saying something off-hand that sparks an idea? What if it’s noticing there isn’t a solution on the market for a need you have? What if it’s remembering ‘I’ve always wanted to do _______’ from your list of dreams when you were 8 years old.

Put down that road! Take the first step. That’s not saying that every idea will be THE idea, but it may get you to the crossroads you need to be at to see your real destination. Or it may take several more twists and turns to get on a road that make sense. And even when you do, it can still change. When I look at the various experiences, friendships, jobs, etc that have been a part of my life, in the moment they may not all seem to fit. But, when taken from the perspective of where I am now, I see how they all made me who I am now and gave me the skills I needed. By learning what was a ‘no’ I moved closer to what was a yes. Leaps of faith proved the power of following my calling. Relationship/friendship mistakes taught me how to be a better friend and partner. All those roads got me here. My dear friend Rev. Jennifer Holder said in a sermon many years ago, “I could have come no other way .”

That has stuck with me because it reminds me to have patience with thedsc_0243 silly choices I made in the past because they made me who I am. I don’t wait for the perfect moment, because the journey of the rest of my life starts now.

So I boldly lay down my road, sometimes I’ll be more pleased with the results than others, but I won’t sit here with a free roads card in my hand not deciding where to put them.

I got places to go.

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Where are you living?

3 Jul

I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker today. He has a tough but potentially amazing journey ahead and I had overheard him telling someone about it. I mentioned that maybe he could focus on what a once in a lifetime chance this was, the kind of thing you do when you’re young. A story to tell the grandkids.

He was receptive to my point and we were exchanging more on the topic when I said what many of us have heard before. “We all have to travel through the darkness, but you don’t have to build your condo there.” then I added “why don’t you build it in gratitude and let that be the thing you center around.” Wait. Yeah, I just said that.

“We all have to travel the darkness but you don’t have to build your condo there. Why don’t you build it in gratitude and let that be the thing you center around.”

They say that most car accidents happen within 25 miles of the home. I think that’s because it’s where you spend most of your time so there’s a probability thing going on there. The point is that we spend time near our home and at our home. We go to the bank, post office, grocery and other stores, gas station, work, church, etc. We may also visit a museum, library, theatre, park, sporting event, restaurant, or friend’s house. We do our selection of activities and then we return home. If we decide we don’t like the place we’re living, we move. That may effect which stores etc. that we frequent, it may not.home

I’m here to suggest the same model of awareness for ourselves. Where is home? You and I know people whose home seems to be a dark and stormy place. We also probably know people whose home is sadness, anger, peace, joy and more.

So my question is where are you living? Where is your homebase and is it where you would ideally like it to be? Having feelings is normal and healthy. Just as you might visit go on a trip for a week or two, you might be camping out in a  feeling(s) for a while. That’s healthy. Like I said at the beginning, it’s not about where you visit, it’s about where you live.

What ideas, feelings and principles do you use to guide your life? Safety or fear? Abundance or lack? Joy or impending doom? Victimhood or gratitude? Now let’s not start getting judgmental about ourselves, but instead use this awareness as a tool. If you want to move your homebase, you have to know it first and now you do! Yeay congratulations.

How? Well, just like any move, you have to pack up the stuff you want to keep, throw out what you don’t want to keep and possibly take several trips to your new neighborhood. Then you have to settle in to the new place. Unpack, hang your pictures, figure out the best way to get to your favorite places to visit. It can take a while. Be patient.

I have noticed when I have had a shift in how I see or do one thing (my house), it changes all sorts of other things (the routes). It can be a touch confusing, but roll with it, be curious, be open, be aware. Hopefully you’ll find your new center of being serves you well. If not… well… time to pack.

Peace for your journey, Ra

PS Sometimes it’s also about choosing what the centering idea is for a particular situation like my coworker’s new adventure. While there will be all sorts of high and low experiences, decide what the underlying theme is and you’re well on your way.

Opportunity knocks

21 Jun

My mom has a dog, Belle,  who is an eternal optimist. If you enter into the area of the kitchen where food is prepared, she will be right there ‘just in case’. She doesn’t whimper or put her paws on you, she just is very present. If you happen to fling a bit of cheese (or lettuce, peppers, cucumber, apple, banana, etc.) her way, it doesn’t get within 2 feet of the floor. She’s ready to receive her good.

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Belle the optimist

That’s the way it is with so much, you gotta show up and pay attention.

My sister and I are in Oregon helping mom out on the farm for a while. We’ve been very busy, but Wednesday we had a chance to go exploring. So of course we went to say hello to the ocean. We went to Cape Arago, there is a lookout and then trails to other lookouts. (there is no beach, just rock and cliff.) On our way back from one of the lookouts, there was a partly overgrown path going the opposite way from the ocean. It was paved the same as the other paths, and there were no signs saying we couldn’t, so since we have a sense of adventure (and were wearing long pants) we decided to follow the untaken path. This is what we could see at the top.
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Once we’d gone down the trail a bit, we saw this:
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Now I’m starting to think that this might take us all the way down to the cove, not just another lookout. Ooo how exciting. There were some big steps, but together little sister and I made it, and we were rewared with this:

Our own little cove. No people, only the sounds of the birds and the waves, and the sea lions on the distant Simpson Reef. (The island jutting out in the middle of the picture.) It was lovely, serene, I dare say holy.

We wouldn’t have found it if we had stayed on the easy to find trail or if the route seemed too difficult. (This is the height of the hill we hiked down and then of course back up.)
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We had to say yes. We had to say I’m willing to go someplace new, I don’t know what I’ll find, and maybe I’ll find nothing, which is okay too. Of all the places we stopped and things we looked at, this is my favorite, it’s pretty sure, but it’s special because we dared to find it. Because we had to work together to get there and back safely. Because on that day, maybe no other humans set foot there.

On many topics it might not be wise to take advice from the dog, (I’m a cat person after all) but on this, I think Belle has it figured out.

Show up, expect blessings, take the adventure. If it doesn’t work out how you hoped, show up next time.

Wishing you a great adventure,
Ra