Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When Presented with Path A or Path B

I needed to take a short hiatus from my blog to respond to a little chaos that showed up. You know the kind when you find yourself on Path A knowing that you are supposed to be on Path B, but the exit signs aren't well marked?

Well, eventually the signs began to reveal themselves. Now then, as we know being the learners that we are, picking ourselves up wherever we are (be it a professional or personal situation) takes a bit of effort. To rise from inertia of our every day practice, even if it's unhealthy in any way and doesn't fully serve our highest good and best self, isn't so easy. We form habits and rationalizations to make peace with and/or tolerate whatever reality we are in.

Oddly, while the human body with millions of cells changes every day, we can be so adverse to adopting new behavioral approaches and outlooks. We are prone to staying right where we are, strapping ourselves in for a ride within our comfort zones by our own fears and insecurities.

But I do believe we all inherently know when another path offering greater happiness is before us. We all know when we need to put the blinker on and edge our way to the exit sign to the other path.

If you find yourself in this situation, as a lifelong learner, here are some tips to assist you as you course correct and map out a new direction for your personal or professional life:

1. Take notice of your surroundings. Are you in an environment, on a road, that feels right to you? We all have an inner compass that directs us. Notice where yours is pointing due north. Double check to see if the compass is working properly by asking some question about how you feel about certain situations where you know yourself well. Ask your inner compass to answer. Does the answer align with what you know? If not, double check that your inner compass isn't being magnetized and pulled off by someone or something else. Calibrate your own compass with your wisest self.

2. Once calibrated, watch the landscape. Are you in territory that you WANT to explore but makes you really uncomfortable for whatever reason? If "Yes", proceed and notice what is making you uncomfortable and why. Lean into the discomfort. You could be at the edge of your comfort zone. Ask for support from those you trust for a reality check that you are learning and growing in a way that serves you.

3. If you are on a path and you are not sure whether you want to stay on it, and you are in territory that makes you uncomfortable and have noticed this is a repeated experience, ask yourself this very important question: Do I need to learn anything further by being on this path? If the answer is "Yes", then ask: Is there anyone or anything that can assist me in making this feel more comfortable? Seeing that you are in uncharted territory, get the support you need to stay on the path until the answer to the prior question is, "No". If you have learned everything you needed to on this path, if you have taken it as far as you can, then prepare to leap with faith.

3. Start to look for the signs that show the way to your next path. Explore options that make good logical and intuitive sense over emotional comfort. You will know you are on the path that serves you best when you feel a sense of invitation, less resistance.

Remember, growth comes with discomfort. It requires effort. All paths lead to deeper awareness of self and contentment when mindfulness is practiced. When faced with Path A or Path B, listen deeply. Redirect and adopt a new path when you see the road signs that indicate you are indeed ready for a new landscape.

And, always be grateful to those with whom you have travelled any path. They have been instrumental in your growth.

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