“It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” — Paulo Coelho
Have you ever had others criticize you for the path in life you have been called to walk, be it spiritual, career, lifestyle, and so on? Often those who tend to have the greatest opposition to the pathway we walk are family and friends. Of course this can be extended to include religious institutions, political parties, and cultural traditionalists as well — many of which make no bones about it, priding themselves on believing that their way is the only way. It can be incredibly difficult to separate from the “herd” and go our own way when it goes against the grain of the herd mentality (or majority) and yet, if we don’t, we know there is a part of us that will slowly begin to die. Call it spirit, soul, life force, or what you may, there is that within us that knows who it is we’ve come here to be and what it is we’ve come here to do and if we don’t listen to its call, it begins to wane. This is when life becomes more about enduring until we die rather than thriving while we are here.
Perhaps what our critics don’t understand is that beneath the layer of what they may refer to as “choice,” there lies another layer where lives the authentic self, and its voice perpetually whispers ever so softly in our inner ear, “Be who you are and you’ll find freedom, fullness of expression, joy, peace, purpose and meaning in this precious life you have been given.” This voice beckons us to be true to ourselves; when we hear and listen to that voice, it’s not so much that we are then guided to choose a certain path in life but, in truth, realize that our path has chosen us. However, do not consider this a “get out of jail free” card for the bad choices we all have made along the way that may have caused pain and suffering in our lives or the lives of others; the reality that our path chooses us when we are ready in no way alleviates the fact that we are always personally accountable for the choices we make in our day-to-day lives. The voice to which I refer is incapable of guiding us in a direction that is self-destructive or harmful to others or that in any way dishonors the sacredness of life, because it is life itself that beckons us.