Today‘s guest post comes from Leanne Chapman
“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”
What if everything you had come to believe about yourself wasn’t true?
What if the person you thought you were was built on the stories of others, projected on to you by their own untended wounds, their lack of understanding, their confusion?
I have let go of one story after another over the years – the story that I’m invisible, the story of being second-best, the multitude of stories about how I’m not OK as I am, the stories that told me to change so I could fit in, be OK, be enough.
Without clear guidance, how easy it is to fall into step with the rules and expectations of others – rules which don’t feed or nurture our souls. Who guides us into womanhood when those around us are asleep and don’t see or know us as we are?
Here are 5 suggestions for finding your own sacred path:
1. Step back and see the bigger picture
When you stand in front of a tall building, you can’t clearly see the whole structure. It’s difficult to get a clear view of the floor you need to get to from this viewpoint. But when you stand back further, your view is much broader and you can see all the way to the top.
Our lives are the same – when we’re in the midst of transition and upheaval, we get up too close and our focus becomes very narrow. This is exactly the time when we really need to be taking a step back so we can see the whole story. Our momentary discomforts are often leading to longer term growth and learning, we just can’t see it when we look at them from a micro perspective.
2. Look for the answers inside you
Research psychologists have discovered that when behaviour is uncertain, such as when we try something we’ve never done before or go to an unfamiliar place, we are more likely to copy the behaviour of others. So when we’re feeling lost and confused about our life direction, we tend to go looking for answers from others. We ask friends what they would do, we check in with psychics, oracle cards, astrological forecasts, and still we can’t decide our next step.
That’s because the answers aren’t out there. The only way to find your true north is to look within. Our heads are so full of ‘what ifs’ and ‘yes buts’, while our heart usually has only one answer – the real one. Our heads are so busy sorting through all the external advice that we don’t learn to go to the source of our own wisdom. Our intuition, our ‘gut’ feeling, our inner knowing – this is where the real answers lie.
3. Focus on your progress, not your stumbles
It’s easy to focus on what we haven’t achieved yet and what didn’t turn out the way we hoped along the way, but we can do this to such a degree that we filter out our successes. It’s important to notice what’s working for us and celebrate our accomplishments so that we keep a balanced view of our journey.
One way to do this is to compare ourselves only with ourselves. For instance, when you started learning a new language three months ago you might’ve only known three words. Now you’re able to hold basic conversations. Of course there are times when you use the wrong word or misunderstand something, but you’re using a lot more of the right words and understanding far more than you were three months ago. It doesn’t matter if other people are fluent, you’ve made progress – celebrate it!
4. Recognise that this is a journey with many segments
Our life path never takes a direct route to success, healing and happiness. The trail follows a winding course, disappearing around corners, dipping into gullies and climbing mountainous terrain. There are sunny days but there are also wild stormy days that almost knock us off our feet. We can’t judge our footing by looking at any of these single points in the road.
The path is made up of many segments which twist and turn in numerous directions. We can only tell if we’re moving forward by taking a series of measurements over time. You’ll have good days and days where you take three steps back. But if the overall trend is in the direction you want to go, you’re on track.
5. Realise that you can create your own path rather than following ready-made ones
The mythologist Joseph Campbell said “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”
We often find ourselves on paths that are influenced by the wishes and expectations of others. This works for many, especially those who might otherwise feel directionless, but if it’s not working for you then it’s OK to get off that path. Your own path might take a different route to existing ones, and you might have to beat your way through the undergrowth with a machete to find it, but it will be there and it will be waiting for you.
You’ll know you’ve found your unique path when time slows down. You’ll no longer be lost and unsure or feel as though you’re running out of time. You’ll be caught up in the moment and your future will light up in front of you. All the previous challenges and detours into the unknown will suddenly make sense because they were bringing you to this, your sacred path.
Leanne Chapman is an art therapist, writer and founder of Claim Your Treasure, a place to discover your sacred path, reclaim your lost treasures, and connect with who you really are through self-expression, creativity and intuition.
Leanne creates Treasure Maps and Sacred Stories to help you unlock the true meaning of your journey, uncover new pathways to success, and intentionally take the next steps on your sacred path. You can also find her on Facebook.