The Forest

Which path are you going to choose?

Thoughts racing, heart pounding, and that feeling in our chest that something just isn’t right. The “what ifs,” the “should haves,” and the doubt that holds us hostage to a future we can’t control.

“Just be in the moment” they say.

This is the advice we can’t hear because our minds are ruminating on a past we can’t change and fearful of a future we can’t control. 

Paralyzing. Stuck. Lost.

That’s what being in this moment feels like for us. Running at high speeds on a treadmill to nowhere, we wonder why fatigue is the norm. And those short-lived moments of peace and joy scare us because we don’t want the fall to hurt us more. “It will be okay” is the type of certainty we never learned.  “Just relax” is the advice that confirms no one understands us. “You’re so strong” is the compliment we don’t feel because we don’t believe it.  

Are we good enough? What if people find out who we really are?

If the above resonates with you then we have something in common. And if that is so, then let’s imagine life as a path through a very dense and mysterious forest where the end of the path means the end of life. There are two paths we can take to reach the end. The first path is a straight line to the end (white path in image below). This path is safe, comfortable, and predictable. There is little to see on this path and there is little to experience. There are no hardships, no problems to solve, and no dangers along the way. We can hide behind social media as we show the world only the part of us we want to show lest others find out the most vulnerable yet beautiful parts we hide.

The second path is a winding maze full of mountains, quicksand, waterfalls, and who knows what else (brown path in image above). 

The second path is unpredictable, scary, and beautiful–but only if we give ourselves permission to stop and enjoy it along the way.

Now imagine that one of you takes the first path (i.e., the straight path) and the other takes the second path (i.e., the maze).

Can you imagine the conversation between both of you at the end? Can you imagine the stories, the experiences, the regrets, the wisdom, and the degree of fulfillment each of you would bring to the conversation? 

So which path are you going to choose?

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