The path less travelled

I’ve come to love the forest in Winter more than I thought I could. When you’re prepared for the temperature and icy conditions, it is a beautiful experience. Millie and I have a route that follows the water. Half of the trail is popular, and the other half is not. You can tell which paths are popular and which paths are less travelled.

We had a few warm days that turned the snow to slush, then a drop in temperature turned the slush to ice. Everyone’s slushy footprints from the day before made the ground icy and uneven. The path was so uneven that walking was dangerous, even with the proper footwear. At the beginning of this path, I saw the jagged, dangerous ground, and stopped to look for a safer way to enter the woods. While I was assessing which way to go, I got to thinking about how the path most travelled doesn’t have to be the one we travel if it doesn’t feel right; what is “common” or “normal” may not be suitable for us. Sometimes to protect your heart, you gotta take the path less travelled.

Not all well-travelled paths are dangerous. This morning, I was grateful for them! Today’s walk on well-travelled paths made our walk in the snow more enjoyable (well, for me. Millie could care less), and I was grateful to the pioneers who walked this path before me. After 15cm of snow, being one of the first on the trail was no small feat. I knew the second part of our route wouldn’t be as travelled, but that is ok.

Sometimes the path less travelled is the one we have to take if we want something in our lives to change. This is because we’ve walked the well-travelled paths for so long and have yet to really get anywhere. We played it safe by following what others have done for generations before us: by putting our heads down and walking.

We believe the path well-travelled must be the path for us.

But what if we looked at the ground and saw that the popular, normal path doesn’t feel right? That it doesn’t feel like the truth? Do we keep going? Or can we lift our heads, look around, and find a path that aligns more with who we are? Can we have the courage to follow our soul’s call and be one of the pioneers?

I was an Elementary school teacher for the past ten years. And for ten years, I have loved the core of what it means to teach. I love inspiring, connecting and learning with people of all ages and backgrounds. For almost ten years, I was on the well-travelled path. I kept my head down, feeling mostly content on this path. It was comfortable, known and safe. But for two years, I’d occasionally lift my head and wonder what other paths existed if I had to courage explore. But I was too scared to be a pioneer.

Walking the forest with Millie has shown me that while the well-travelled paths have advantages- they’re comfortable, they have more dogs, and they’re tried and true- I find more peace and love on the paths I forge with few others. They feel more like me.

When we find peace and love on the less travelled path, we know we’re on the right path. Leaving teaching felt like outgrowing my favourite pants (the ones that hugged my then-booty just right…you know which ones I’m talking about), but I need pants that hug the booty I have now. I need to follow a path that is more in alignment with who I am now. So, thank you, Teaching. I’m so grateful for all you’ve taught me.

It’s time to follow the path less travelled and see where it takes me.

Below is an affirmation taken from Colette Baron-Reid’s The Good Tarot. If you feel you are at a crossroads, read this affirmation and trust:

I fearlessly pause to re-examine where I have been, where I am, and where I might go. Now I consciously choose the path that is right for me instead of the one that seems likely to draw me onto it- or the one I feel I ought to walk. I am true to my heart. I’ve come as far as I can, and I leave by the wayside, the last vestiges of illusion, the last bit of fear and shame. I will no longer hold onto what isn’t right for me.

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