When I left Queens my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla. I wonder how the road beyond it goes – what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows – what new landscapes – what new beauties – what curves and hills and valleys further on.
I recently listened to the audiobook, Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery, written in 1908. The quote that leads this post is from the book, and it literally gave me pause. I was walking and listening, and I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk.
As you know if you've been reading my recent posts, there’s a bend in the road coming up for me, and I’m not sure what lies around it, but I’ve decided to explore the bend instead of continuing on the path I've been on.
Like Anne, I wonder where the road beyond it goes. What new landscapes and beauties are there to discover? What new fascinations will arise?
People ask me what I'll do with "all that free time," what plans I have. And I'm resisting; I don't want to think about it yet. The fascination for me is in the not knowing.
When I left real estate - I had a 13-year career in the '80's and '90's selling houses - I didn't know what was next then either. I explored creative writing, music, quilting, teaching, and other occupations I thought I might like and be good at. I wanted the next "thing" to answer yes to questions like:
- Will it solve a problem?
- Will it cause me to wake up each morning looking forward to the day?
- Will it increase connection in the world?
It seems these are still worthy questions for whatever comes next for me now. I might add:
- What do I want to say goodbye to, and how will I do it in a way that's purposeful?
- What parts of myself do I want to continue to nurture, and what new or yet undiscovered parts of myself will I bring forward?
There's a quotation I'm fond of and have offered up in many a workshop. It's by John Scharr, author and political theorist.
The future is not a result of choice among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created ... created first in mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.
Power & Presence Training has been an exciting and not always straight path. It was created day by day, choice by choice, and the activity of making it did indeed change me as I walked it. I couldn't fully imagine the destination at the beginning. I only kept walking where my energy led. And I plan to do the same now.
I've written about this before. We are creating our paths every moment, with each choice we make. We could be talking about a work/life path, a relationship, a personal journey, or a day in your life. What I try to remember, and often forget, is that these paths, these roads, are in fact not "found." We are making them whether we think we are or not, and the choices we make as we go change us. The walker and the road are one.
From time to time, bends appear - some planned and some unexpected - and we're asked to look down the road as far as we can and make a choice.
I don't have all the answers - hardly any, really - but I hope the questions above help you make your choices. And I hope you have the time and curiosity to sit a while with the unknown.
I leave you with perhaps my favorite of all poems, one I recited at my high school graduation and that's been a huge influence ever since.
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
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.
Lead graphic courtesy of Alex Proimos/Wikimedia