"Your mind knows only some things.
Your inner voice, your instinct, knows everything.
If you listen to what you know instinctively,
it will always lead you down the right path."
Do you love the path your life is headed down? Yeah, I know, that's kind of a big question to just throw at you, right? But, if you think about it, we're all on so me sort of path. Some of us are doing what we can to control and guide our paths. Some of us are just riding life out, going with the flow and seeing where it takes us. No matter what way you choose to view or act on your life's path, you do have one. We all do. The question then becomes not whether we have a path, but whether or not we like our path. To be honest, I go back and forth on the issue. One day I feel like my life is going just as it should, that I'm treading nicely along a path that makes me happy and fills my life with positivity. The next day I can be unsure, uncertain about whether or not I'm living the best life I could be living. I'll find myself asking, "Are there things I could change? Are there things I want to change? What would my ideal life path be?" Some days I find myself wondering if I'm on the right path.
I'm sure I'm not alone in this. No matter how content one seems (or claims) to be, I'm pretty most people question the path their heading down at one point or another. It's human nature, I suppose. However, after reading Loving What Is by Byron Katie, I'm coming to the realization that I'm always on the right path, no matter what's happening in my life. Whatever's happening is supposed to happen. Whatever path I'm heading down is the path I'm supposed to be on. Of course it's not always that easy to believe this (especially when things in your life are less than ideal), but, really, what sense does it make not to? Does it make you happier to believe you're on the wrong path? No. Does it bring more stress and anxiety into your life when you fret about if you're traveling down the right road? Yes. To me, it makes a lot more sense to accept your life as it is -- to embrace it and love it -- than it does to question and critique it.
However, that doesn't mean we have to relinquish all control when it comes to our lives. Walking around going "La-dee-la, I have no control so I'm just going to do nothing" is certainly not any way to live a full, happy life. We have control over our lives, but we also need to take to heart the idea that our lives are moving along just as they should. As I said, this isn't always easy to do, especially if you love to have control like I do. As much as I absolutely loved reading Katie's work, it was hard for me at times to say, "Yeah, my life is going along just as it should. It always has and it always will." Part of me wants to revolt against that idea and say, "Hey! My life has been really shitty before and I have to make sure it doesn't ever get that way again!" It's pretty hard for me not to want to believe that I have control over every single aspect of my life. I have the ability to make choices, yes, but I have to remember that every choice -- no matter what it feels like -- is the right choice for my life's path.
For someone who easily jumps to a critical conclusion, it's not all that easy for me to accept that, no matter what I do, I'm doing the right thing. How can I really know that? How can I know that I'm not, right now, making some horrible mistake? I guess, when it comes down to it, there's no way to know. I have to just sit back, do what I do, and accept that my life is unfolding as it should. And, as I learned from Katie, there's no way that it could be unfolding any other way. What is happening is what's supposed to happen. If it weren't supposed to happen, it wouldn't be happening. Does that make sense? Yeah, it's hard for me to grasp sometimes, but, deep down, I believe there's a truth in that. Does knowing this truth make it easier for me to love and accept the path I'm on in life? Yes and no. Part of me really does realize that everything is happening as it should and I have to keep going on doing what I believe I should be doing. The other part of me rebels and demands that I seize control, make changes, and move my life down a path that is ideal for me (but, then, what really is ideal? how do I know it would be ideal?). I struggle with this all the time as I'm sure many of you do as well. I want to control my life, live the best life I can, but I also want to believe that I'm living my life just fine and that nothing is happening that shouldn't be happening.
So how do I balance it all out? How do I make choices in my life while ultimately committing myself to loving my life's path? I can't say that I've perfected the art of this by any means, but I do have a few suggestions that I work with (and that might help you out too if you're working to accept the path you're on in life). I'm going to share them with you here with the hope that I can continue down my path with love and acceptance and that you too can appreciate the road down which you are traveling. Life is a tricky thing to figure out. Why are we here? What is our purpose? Is there a purpose? Are we each living our purpose properly? I don't have all (or any!) of the answers, but I do know that, no matter who you are or what you think the purpose of life is, you can't help but benefit from loving the path you're on in your life. Live it now. Love it now. Here's my advice on how...
How To Love Your Life's Path
- Accept and love yourself first. No matter what you are working toward in life or what you think your purpose is, the best way to fulfill your dreams and reach your goals is to love yourself. You have to love who you are first if you want to love the path you're on. According to one Buddhist saying, "You cannot travel the path until you become the path itself." If you want to love the path you're on, you have to love yourself. You, your very being, is the driving force behind your life's purpose. If you can't love yourself, how in the world can you love your path? It's impossible. Do whatever you must do to love yourself, respect yourself, and accept yourself. This is the first step to making peace with your life and loving the path you're on.
- Let go of your (good or bad) past. When your mind is wandering constantly back to the past, you are not really moving forward or embracing the present moment. You are stuck in one spot, looking backwards. Remind yourself that the past -- whether it was good or bad -- is over. You cannot go back there and you will never again be the person you were in the past. You are you now, and the person you are now is the person you must focus on in order to really understand and love your life as it is right now. I often find myself caught up in scenes from the past, reliving them in my head. This does no good. It wastes time and energy that could be spent focusing on the path I'm heading down. Learn from your past, love your past (if you can), but let it go. You may need the lessons, but you don't need the baggage. Drop right now on the path and keep on moving.
- Believe in the beauty of life. Life is strange, isn't it? It's so hard to explain what it is, what the point of it is, but there are some really amazing things in it, aren't there? What if your purpose was just to enjoy life, to take it all in, to live every moment as if it were your last? What if you were put on this earth only to enjoy and love everything (good and bad) about the world? Life is odd but it's also beautiful. Even pain, sadness, and desperation are beautiful in their own ways. When I take a step back and look at life as a beautiful, amazing thing, it puts my small life in perspective. It reminds me that whatever my purpose is is part of a collective purpose, a universal state of living that we are all experiencing. Thinking about it this way makes my purpose -- whatever that might be -- seem more grand and, in an odd way, more worthwhile.
- Stop worrying about the future. We don't know if the future will ever come, so what are you getting so worried about? Okay, I know it's not that simple. There are bills to pay, mouths to feed, commitments to make. The future is there. We know it's probably coming. But the more you worry and stress about it, the less likely you are to be enjoying the present moment (the only thing that's truly guaranteed). If you're not living in the present, you're not really loving the path you're on. You're looking for something better or different in the future and, really, there's no sense in that. Stay in the now as much as you can. Deal with what you must related to the future, but don't look to it as a place where you will someday be happier or wealthier or better. You are, just as you are right now, perfectly you and that's just what you need to be.
- Love what your life is right now. Easier said than done? Sure, but it's totally worth it to give this one a shot. Can you say that you honestly, 100% love your life as it is right now? Really? Most of us would probably say no, we can't really say that. But why not? Why can't you love everything as it is right now? What's stopping you from accepting that the life you are living right now is your perfect, ideal life and there is nothing better for you out there other than what you are experiencing right now? When I think that my life is unfolding just as it should, that nothing is a mistake, and that everything is happening for a reason, I find that I'm much more at peace with myself and the world. If I love my life as it is now, I don't have to revisit the past and I don't have to wait hopefully for the future. I can be here, now, happy. Of course I don't do this all of the time (I wish I could!) but when I find myself really loving the way my life is, not wanting to change a thing about it, I am at my happiest. And who's to say I can't think that way all the time?
As I mentioned earlier in the post, life is odd. What our purpose is isn't always clear. Sometimes we might feel like we're on the wrong path or we may even feel like we're not on a path at all. It's important to remember that we're all on some sort of path and that we're each following our paths exactly as we should be. Whatever you're doing, you're doing what's right for you. Believe that your life is unfolding as it should. Love the path you're traveling down. Accept life as it is. Trust me, if you love your life's path, you will be happier. And who doesn't want to be happier?