The last year or so has been a challenging one. I am getting a divorce after 23 years and there is a lot to learn, and even more to un-learn; about the world, about myself, about relationships. I have been thinking a lot about “groundwork” and how I believed for a long time in a paradigm that said if I worked hard and diligently and laid a solid ground beneath my feet, at some point I could rest easy and revel in that. It’s that same story we hear in the West about getting to retirement or busting our asses in high school so that we can get in to a good college or killing ourselves in college so that we can land a good job and … rest.

I am un-learning.

I am reminded that people who embody their purpose and their passion, who trust their instincts and intuition and forge a path from that, centered in it, steeped in it, are the people who most inspire me. These people don’t lead with fear, they live with it, walk with it until it falls away. It is, at most, an occasional companion on their journey, not the engine that drives their motion.

I wanted, at some point, to stop living moment by moment, breathing deeply and re-centering myself. I wanted to have built a solid path already so that I wouldn’t have to keep laying one cobblestone at a time, breathing always, focused always. I wanted there to be some magical point in time when I would have laid enough “groundwork” that the path would simply be there, shining and solid before me, so that all I had to do was step out and follow it with ease.

As I say that out loud, I realize that the only way that can happen is if I go backwards. The path in front of me hasn’t been laid yet. It can only be laid by me.

Some days, I want to lie down on the path I’ve already made, at the place where the last cobblestone is set before dropping off into Earth, and rest. And I think that’s ok. Rest is ok. This is hard work, laying your own path, staying grounded in who you are and being true to your own deepest pull.

If I am to forge my own way, I have to keep building one stone at a time. I have to keep asking, ‘is this who I am?’ I have to believe that what lies behind me is only important because it is how I got here. It is not worth going back to.

So while I don’t know exactly where I am going, I know that I am getting there one brick at a time and I also know that each brick is laid with care and determination. The point is not to get “Somewhere” or to “Finish” or even to look back and show how far I’ve come. The work is the point. The daily inquiry – what is most important and true today? what is the highest and best expression of my Self? what is the next right step?

If I embody those things, the work is centering and grounding and I am grateful for it.

Suddenly, I have no more longing for a clear path ahead. I know that what I’m creating is its own purpose, and that gives me joy. And I know that all around me is an abundance of materials and support, reverence and love, and that if I can remember that I am part of something bigger that sustains me and to which I am responsible, in the moments when I falter, I am held firmly.

6 replies
  1. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    Your ability to articulate the most intricate, philosophical AND concrete thoughts is astounding, Kari. I hope that you feel even the tiniest bit of strength and love that you’ve sent my way over the last few years, because it will sustain you. Strength and courage and always love.

  2. Carrie Wilson Link
    Carrie Wilson Link says:

    Lovely, strong and true. NEHBM of the "rest," part. Promise me you'll move that to the top of your To Do list.

  3. Dee
    Dee says:

    Dear Kario, thank you for sharing what has happened around the bend of your journey. You are seeing a new vista and recognizing a new self who comes from all that has happened in the past. The mantra that has seen me through much change and growth in the human spirit if that of Julian of Norwich: "And all shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be exceedingly well. . . . for there is a Force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go." Peace.

  4. Bohemian
    Bohemian says:

    Most of the time I have no idea where I'm Going, but I'm on my Way… no Groundwork, each time I laid some in the Past I found that Life just happened and a new Path would have to be laid anyway. Now I seek no Destination, I'm just enjoying the Journey and where ever it might take me. Live authentically and in the Moment and in doing so it can be sublime!

  5. Writology
    Writology says:

    Your story is impressive. You remind that we create your own path. We build it step by step. And it's very important to stay yourself. But, reaching even the highest goal in their lives, there should be rest. When we rest, we do things more efficiently and get more pleasure from the process.


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