Thursday, March 12, 2009

Road Making

A good friend of mine here in Israel shared an excerpt of a poem with me that I really resonate with... being the traveler that I am. I thought I would share it with you as well. My thoughts follow the poem.

Here is an excerpt from "There Is No Road" by Antonio Machado (1875 - 1939):

"Traveler, your footprints
are the road - that is all;

Traveler, there is no road;
the road is made by walking.

By walking, the road is made,
and looking back
one sees the path
never again to be traveled.

Traveler, there is no road;
only a ship's wake in the sea."

What a great reminder that life is about the journey, not a destination. Each day that we are granted the gift of life, we are free to explore whatever lies before us.

Often, the way forward is not clear. Which way do we go? What choices should we make? Which option is the best for us? When the path is not obvious, we can become confused or fearful. Sometimes we can become completely paralyzed.

It is not very often in life that a blazed trail extends before us, clearly marked so that we are assured success. More often than not, we must make our own path by walking into the unknown, just as Machado points out in this poem.

People often try to cling to absolutes - it is easier to live in a world of black and white - even if you are failing to 'do right' a lot of the time. At least you know where you stand. At least it's clear. I find, however, that the real world is full of black and white and every shade of gray, not to mention the rest of the rainbow! Creating a toolkit that enables us to deal with ambiguity and complexity allows us the fullest experience of what life is all about.

Learning the lessons that life teaches us, each and every day, allows us to forge our own path through the untamed jungle of life. Hopefully we become wiser, kinder and more skilled as we go.

We can never go backward and 'redo' the path we have traveled, yet we can learn from that path and forge a different and better future. We can allow our past to be behind us, completely, and greet each new step as the new beginning that it truly is.

Be kind and gentle to yourself as you blaze your own unique trail through this life.

No one does it perfectly. We all make mistakes. We all stumble. We all disappoint ourselves and other people. Yet, each new step provides the opportunity to change directions, correct our course and begin again! What a gift!

My wish for you is to experience happy and profound travels. Remember... the road is made... by walking!

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