Is there anything more frustrating in life than taking two steps forward, only to have the door we’re about to enter slammed right in our face?
To muster the courage to move towards a dream, only to have the road we’re traveling come to an unexpected dead end?
To summon the strength necessary to take a risk, only to be told to go back in the direction from which we came? (Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200).
In confusing times like these, we often can’t help but wonder: What is the point of all the wagon circling? The backtracking? The detouring? If we were just going to end up right where we started, what was it all for? Was all that time and effort and love and money nothing but a waste?
The answer, of course, is no. But that feels like little consolation in the moment.
The truth is, though, we simply don’t know what we don’t know. We move through life under the mistaken impression that we’re seeing the whole picture, when in reality, our perspective is limited. We’re able to observe the world only through the lens of our own paradigm. And perhaps most challenging of all, we witness the events that unfold around us, not as they are, but as we are.
Which means sometimes moving forward can look an awful lot like moving backward. But just ask anyone who’s ever traveled long distances by train in a rear-facing seat: Things aren’t always as they appear.
“It’s important to remember,” Julia Cameron wrote, “that at first flush, going sane feels just like going crazy.” That finding ourselves can often feel a lot like losing ourselves. And maybe this is the point somehow. Maybe it isn’t truly possible to see the way forward until we’re willing to acknowledge that there are many ways forward. Dozens of roads. Countless paths— the most beautiful of which are often winding, unpredictable and perhaps even a little mysterious.
So take heart, friends.
We don’t need to be able to see the path to be on it. We’re not required to walk in straight lines in order to reach our destination. Which means a step in any direction, from right where we are, will always have the power to get us exactly where we need to go.