People talk about finding the path they should be on or the thing they should be doing like it’s one thing and when they find it the angels will all begin singing in unison, a shaft of light will fall on them and everything will become perfect in the new utopia.  Or something…sometimes their vision is less grand than that, but that’s what I picture in my mind because, you know, go big or go home.  Besides, this is a movie plot they are describing, not a life.  It’s the rags to riches story, the great dramatic turn where everything falls into place and the person lives happily ever after, which is great. I enjoy those plots in movies and TV.  I enjoy them even more when someone is reading the book aloud.  Think that’s just for reading bed time stories to kids?  Try it sometime.  You get a group of friends together to take turns reading a book and you will be amazed at the acting skills you never knew they, or you, had.  Plus the story takes on whole new layers of meaning when read by someone else with an audience. If you want to make it real fun add regional aspects…

Anyway, where was I?  So paths.  Usually people who are looking for that one path that is going to solve all their problems are having a Dorothy issue.  They are trying to find the yellow brick road, don’t have ruby slippers, and haven’t yet realized that everything they have ever wanted is in their own back yard.  In other words, the point isn’t to find the path, but to become the path you’re trying to find.  Remember that the yellow brick road started with an every broadening spiral moving outward from a central point.  Well, each of us is our central point.  Who we are, what we do, how we live, it all spirals out from us.  Looking for a path that will change us is looking outside for the change that we have to make in ourselves.  To find the path that we are supposed to walk we need to become the path we’re supposed to find.

The first step to doing that is taking a break and stepping back from all the looking to reëxamine what you’re really looking for.  Writing down everything, absolutely everything that you expect from the path including personal fulfillment, a great spiritual life, good community, service, and on and on.  Once you have the list, start arranging them in the spiral working from the inside out.  Looking for fulfillment?  What does that actually mean?  Happiness in your life?  Feeling good about who you are and what you do?  Well, no one “thing” is going to give you that.  You need to find that in yourself.  No, I don’t mean you need to take happy pills, will yourself into a happy place (good luck with that), or adjust your attitude or even go through a gratitude exercise.  What I mean is start where you are.  Your unhappiness isn’t a sign that something’s wrong, it’s a sign pointing you to the very start of your spiral.  So look where it’s pointing.  What are you unhappy about?  Why are you unhappy about it?  Don’t think about fixing it.  Again, you’re not broke and this is about you.

If something is making you unhappy then things need to change.  You don’t need to change, but perhaps how you’re doing things, what you’re accepting, what you assume is required needs to.  Most people I know who are walking their path didn’t receive a lightning bolt from the sky nor did they win the lottery.  Their paths are an accretion of choices they have made.  Some were sacrifices to achieve a goal, many were choices to not sacrifice and instead validate who they are so they could build the life they wanted to live.  They have become the person they wanted to be, not through luck, but like a coral reef, by building minute by minute who they want to be until they are that.  And they never stop.  So if you haven’t found your path yet, stop and look down at where you’re standing.  If you’ve wandered far from yourself, it might be time to back track.  The beginning of the path isn’t out there somewhere, it’s been inside you all along.