Keep to the road

4 mins read

In 2005, I left South Carolina for a summer of adventure in California as a natural housing apprentice. But as in life, adventures have their own path. So besides the general, yet unique knowledge, that I gained, I was also party to stories that will garner a lifetime of use. One such story bears repeating.

A friend of mine from that summer, once told me about walking home in the dark on a dirt road. There was little to no moon that night, and in the deep of the woods that ran along side of the road, she suddenly discovered that she had got off of the path. I can only imagine how scary that might be, the options you might shakily review.

She knew she hadn’t gotten too far off the path before she realized it, so what she chose to do was to get down on her hands and knees, and then feel around for the edge of the road.

After a bit, due to her own calm and fortitude, she found the road. What she did, as a result of this near mishap, was to take her shoes off. Yes. She felt that the only way to stay on the road for the balance of the trip was to feel her way, to be grounded in a literal sense.

Many times we find ourselves out on the road of life, so to speak, after an un-settling experience, but sans the ability react normally to the reality of the day, as we are still sporting the shoes of the past. We must remove the barrier between us and the ability to feel what is real. So go barefoot, but how?

Michael Ray, author of the book, The Highest Goal, the Secret that Sustains You in Every Moment, and instructor at Stanford for over 30 years, exalts us to discover for ourselves what drives us. To enable this process he advises each of us to reflect on whatever moment in the last week has meant the most. Something you did, or said, or experienced just through the mere act of your presence. It need not be big or grand, it could be as simple as enjoying a child’s smile in the grocery line. It can be anything. Whatever it is, then ask yourself the question, “Why was that so important to me?”

When you have your answer, reflect on it, and then ask yourself again, “Why is that so important to me?”  Follow this line of reasoning, asking this same question again and again in regard to each of your subsequent answers, till you reach a word or phrase that is the distillation of this exercise: the discovery of your highest goal. Therein you will find the motivation for why operate your life as you do, be it love, connection, service, silence, tranquility, or some short phrase that represents the connection between your actions, and who and what you are at heart.  Michael Ray then directs you to use this word or phrase to guide you whenever you are in one of those moments wherein you can’t feel or find your way. So fill in the blank, “The highest goal for me is …”

This is an encore article from Danette Vernon.

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