What if the road we are supposed to take isn’t the fastest and easiest road?
And what if the fast road not only doesn’t take us where we want to go, but we actually miss the whole point of the journey?
A Personal Journey:
Last year, a friend and I went on a journey to Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Canada. We were basically just looking for a few days out of the city and had heard that this island was pretty untouched by the hustle and bustle of life. So, on a whim, we jumped in the car and headed towards the ferry that would take us there.
While on the ferry, I often found myself looking at a particular white-haired woman. She was talking loudly with another couple and although I couldn’t hear what they were saying, I was always aware that she was there.
Before the ship docked, my friend said that she had found a great café that we should go to. I looked it up and found that it was in Gore Bay. Excellent, we now knew our first stop.
As we were disembarking, we walked past the white-haired woman. She was on the phone and was joking with the other person saying, “Oh don’t worry, I’ll just hitch-hike to Gore Bay.”
What? My ears perked up. So, I stopped by her and asked her if we could give her a ride. We were going that way. She was welcome to come.
She was super thankful and agreed immediately.
As she got into my car, I asked her what she did for a living… It turns out that she was a Native Story-teller and travelled all over North America sharing stories and crafts of the First Nations.
What?! So awesome!
The Journey to Dreamer’s Rock
She had no plans until the evening and so she joined us for the day. She took us to all kinds of fascinating sacred places, churches, craft places and shared all kinds of stories of her Native heritage. It was absolutely fascinating.
A few times along the way, she mentioned that she would love to take us to the most sacred place of all – Dreamer’s Rock. We would have to drive to the north of the island and get permission from the band office. It had been a sacred place for healing for centuries. We weren’t just allowed to show up.
And so, we got permission and were allowed to climb to Dreamer’s Rock with our friend as our guide. We drove into the park and began our hike. The only rule was that we had to be silent in respect for the land.
Well, first of all, you could barely tell where the path was. At times, it was obvious and worn. But many times, our friend would suddenly look to the right or left and indicate that we had to go up that rock next.
As we hiked, I thought about the winding path. I imagined the healers and those seeking healing walking this path for centuries – the sick gathering all of who they were as they walked. The healers listening around and within, gathering whatever they would need to help once they got to the sacred place.
I thought about how much healing would have happened on the journey up.
My own thoughts flowed effortlessly. There was no hurry. No pressure to solve anything. I had all the time in the world.
I thought about how often we are sold the harder, quicker, faster way of living and achieving our goals. I thought about how often these plans fail.
But as I wandered in silence taking little turns and twists often running perpendicular to the direction we were heading, I thought about how valuable these twists and turns are and the time spent.
I thought about how we want to “get better” when we are sick or hurting as fast as possible so that we can get on with our “normal life”.
Or how we want to get fit, lose weight, or gain weight immediately or at least as soon as possible… The idea of taking 10 years to get there, or even the rest of our lives, is seldom (if ever) even considered. (Except for one good friend of mine who taught me how to run barefoot many years ago. His personal goal was to train so that he is still running when he is 90 years old…)
We are in such a hurry to be successful in business, find our mission in life, make big changes… But what if the hurry is actually our downfall and we actually miss so many experiences and don’t hear the deeper guidance?
Transferring at Heathrow
I am writing this in Terminal 4 at Heathrow Airport enroute to Malta. When we landed, I realized that I would have to transfer from Terminal 5 to Terminal 4, so I immediately started doing that “fast-walk” that we often do when we know that we have to get to our next gate. In that “fast-walk”, I see nothing. I am just walking as fast as possible – focused on my goal.
Suddenly, I stopped myself. I had over a three-hour layover. I was in no hurry.
And so, I relaxed my walk. I relaxed on the buses (it took almost 1.5 hours to take all the busses to get to Terminal 4… I had lots of time). Hmm.. I was definitely taking a “long and winding road” today.
And my thoughts got to wander again. As our buses weaved their way through the construction and the massive planes from all over the world, my thoughts floated back to that day climbing up to Dreamer’s Rock. The relaxed twists and turns. Knowing that we would get where we were going. Enjoying wherever my thoughts took me.
My Dreamer’s Rock Revelation
I think that my mind sorted all kinds of interesting things that day. But the greatest realization I had was about this journey that I’m currently on.
I had felt this call to travel for a while. But doubts, the unknown, and a new local romance were definitely causing me a lot of confusion. I had analyzed the situation from so many angles, I had no idea what to do or when to do it.
Until that beautiful day at Dreamer’s Rock.
At one point, between all kinds of different things going through my mind, I had the clearest thought: “Two months from now, you will go.”
It was so clear. So relaxed. No stress. No tension. No fears.
And there it was. I began this journey in that moment.
It was so easy and peaceful.
And here I am, sitting in Heathrow, enroute to Malta.
And I believe that it was the “long and winding road” that brought me the clarity and gently filled in the details to get me here.