Choosing a path

fork in the road

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

 

I’ve had four different people this week tell me I’m brave.

It’s funny. I don’t necessarily feel brave. I just feel like I’m doing what I am meant to do. I’m following my intuition and my heart. I’m trying hard to quiet the chatter in my head.

And I’m consciously taking a different path than the majority of people take. That is really what makes the difference, much like my favourite Robert Frost poem states.

By being quiet and connected to my intuition I see and hear the signs that lead me on this journey.

As I sat at home for the past couple of weeks, sifting through my values and beliefs, I came to see what I’m meant to do next. I’ve learned a fascinating story about my family that took place almost a hundred years ago. I feel like I’m meant to write the story. Telling the story and the legacy of that story could help people today. But I’m not sure how to write the story without hurting people in my family.

The answer showed up just after I made a decision to write the story. I saw a post on Facebook for the Byron Bay Writers Festival that will be held next weekend. In the early part of next week various authors are running workshops. It just so happens I think three of the workshops might help me tell the story I want to tell.

On Monday, I’m attending an ‘Everyone’s Got a Story’ workshop. I’m pretty sure I’ve been saying this very thing for years. It’s part of why I transcribe people’s life stories for them through my local palliative care organisation. It’s also what I’ve written about here on the blog.

Tuesday’s workshop is entitled, ‘Airing Your Family’s Dirty Laundry: How to write your family’s story without hurting anyone’. Hmm…exactly what I want to do. I love that this workshop is being presented by a comedian and author who writes in a very different style to my own. I hope to learn a lot from her.

And Wednesday’s workshop is ‘Writing from Your Gut’. This one makes me laugh. It’s how I write already but I figured it’s always good to see how others do it and maybe pick up some new tips.

I have Thursday free to explore Byron Bay and surrounds which everyone tells me is beautiful and then the festival is on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I plan to pick and choose the sessions I go to and intersperse them with time to walk on the beach or write or explore the local area.

All in all, I can’t wait. A week of doing what I love in a beautiful place. Meeting new people. Learning about myself and hopefully I’ll come back clearer about how to write the story I want to write. The story my intuition tells me needs to be told.

This isn’t bravery. It’s following a path. Step by step. As each step presents itself. Not worrying about the destination. Just looking to see what is the next step. Because the step in front of me is really only the step worth thinking about. And I know that my life builds on the steps I take each day.

For many years of my life I was on one path. It was a path that never really felt right to me. Eventually, once I acknowledged how much that path didn’t fit me, there was something that called me to a different path. So when I was ready, life presented me a fork in the road. I tried to look down each path as far as I could, but like the poem explains, I could only see to the next bend. I had to trust my intuition to take the path I chose. And like the poem, as way has led to way, or step to step, I doubt I shall return. I doubt I can return to that person I was. I’m too enamoured with my life the way it is.

My life might be messy and imperfect and crazy and lonely at times, but it fits me. It is me. I am all of those things: messy, imperfect, crazy and lonely at times. But I’m also kind, generous, adventurous, loving and loved. Sometimes I’m scared. Sometimes I’m brave. Mostly, I’m just taking each step as it comes.

“If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.” Joseph Campbell

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