Turning in all directions I was unsure of what trail I had ventured onto and hence I had no idea where I was in order to go in the right direction. I made an educated guess and started down one path, but at every trail crossroad I found myself questioning the direction and feeling torn about choosing the other path. I knew I needed to head down the mountain in a westerly direction, so I kept choosing paths that headed that way. Not being familiar with this canyon, I had assumed the path would be clearly marked and had not studied the map for very long before setting out.
But here was the interesting thing. While there were many paths that crisscrossed my way, some looking smooth and well-worn, some with soft ground and leaf covered dirt, and others that clearly were used by horses (hence the manure and smell:) once I finally reached the end of the trail and had perspective I realized that all of the paths led to the same destination. No matter what I chose I couldn’t go wrong–all paths would bring me to my goal, and the actual joy was in the journey not in the destination.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am a control freak and I like to be in charge of every aspect of my life. Which is of course unreasonable and unrealistic. Hence I create much stress for myself that I have to work out by surrendering on my yoga mat. Such a fun cycle.
But what a funny aha moment to realize that in most if not all situations in life, while I might have a final goal or destination in mind, there are so many ways to get there, just like my run this morning. And MY way is not always the right way, or the only way, or even the best way. I mean seriously, I have thought this for so long it is a huge thought to give up.
In my yoga practice, I come to my mat for many reasons: for exercise, for mental clarity, for restoration, for a moment of peace, to be connected to God, and to learn to surrender. And each day my practice looks different as I listen to my body and what it needs in that moment. So my path will not look the same from day-to-day, so how can I expect my path to look at all like your path, or like my neighbors path, or like my husbands path. We each need to choose our own path, and not a one of us is lost as long as we know where we are going.
But ultimately the destination is not where the joy is found, it is in the path. This morning I experienced love of the mountains, my breath, my legs moving and feeling alive while I was on the path, not once I stopped running.
“I think it is important not to overlook the joy of the journey due to an excess of goal orientation.” Lama Surya Das
Every day on our mats, every day in this life is a small miracle. So know where you are headed, enjoy the journey and choose your path every day.