Hollie Holden recently posed this pondering on her blog: “What if the detour is the path?”
Yes, Hollie. Good question. What if?!
In my life the detours — those unexpected happenings that took me somewhere I was never planning to go that were sometimes met with kicking, screaming, resisting, being unaware (because if I chose to be aware there was the possibility that I might actually let go of control, be okay with where life was leading me, or learn something along the way), and me just being pretty dang anxious, overwhelmed, grumpy or forlorn — have often been the biggest blessings.
We humans tend to want to line things up neatly. We like point A to point B with no bumps in the road. But life doesn’t happen in a straight line. Everything on earth happens in cycles and swirls. We live on a round planet (at least according to most) that sits a bit wonky on its axis and spins. We orbit the sun in a solar system that rotates. Rather than shine on us with the exact same brightness every single day, our moon waxes and wanes. Our seasons shift and surprise. In an ironic twist of fate, it’s often the winding paths that lead us to the most adventure and beauty.
Fear can keep us from seeing that all is well along an unexpected path, and ego can keep us in a state of stuck-ness and resistance. (I hear yoga is really good for helping with this…just saying.) No “make wrong” for having fear or ego; they’re part of being human, which is a brilliant and worthy adventure! Plus, usually we wake up somewhere along the path and get perspective. Or, once we step off at the end we can see more clearly where it all led. Hindsight gives us deep learning and appreciation. It’s that whole ‘we can’t see the forrest through the trees’ thing.
This week is all about thinking back along the paths we’ve taken so far and feeling deep, deep gratitude for the blessings we’ve gotten from the unexpected twist and turns.
Maybe you’ve stepped on every path consciously. I bet there were still some unexpected, choose-your-own-adventure moments.
Maybe direction has been forced upon you through no choice of your own.
Maybe you’re on one of those unexpected paths right now and you can’t experience the learning and the blessings just yet. That’s okay. Can you trust that at some point in time there will be a moment when you will be able to?
Sometimes just stating even the most simple thing you’re grateful for along the path can help clear it.
So, this week I ask you to compile a little list of the paths you’ve been gifted with. Joyful and otherwise, there are gifts to them all. Then, make a list of what about them you are grateful for.
Have you grown or learned something? Have you met someone interesting or influential along the way? Have you helped someone?
I’m getting inspired by these prompts right along with you…
The obvious unexpected path along my lifetime so far that has led me to gratitude is
the scoliosis-induced one that led me to yoga and natural living.
This ultimately led me to teach yoga and be in your inbox today.
I’m so grateful for all I’ve learned and continue to learn from this path.
I’m so grateful it has led to me being able to share with others, touch lives, meet people
and have some amazing experiences.
I veered off a professional path I expected to continue on forever and onto this one
when I was forced by my physical body to do so.
I’ve had so much confusion and resistance about that at various points in time because
I’ve worried that maybe I took a wrong turn.
But there’s no way a “wrong” turn led me to a happier, healthier life I love!
I hope every path you step on has blessings.
May there be more apparent blessings, and less blessings in disguise, but when they’re not so apparent, may you always remember to keep your eyes, mind and heart wide open to see the hidden goodness, the almost-missed opportunities, the unexpected growth and newness and joy!
Can’t wait to hear about your amazing life’s paths! And how this whole month of more mindful gratitude practices has gone for you. Thank you for sharing and playing along with me. We’ll do it again next November. In the meantime, as always, feel free to email me or share this blog post with people who might like a little grateful pick-me-up and use #mpgratitudeprompt2018 when you share your grateful musings about this prompt on social media.
It’s been a real pleasure doing this with you!
Be well, happy, and always grateful!