And we are back Travellers,
I’ve been working on a lot of internal exploration these past two weeks. This is what I mean when I say “soul spelunking”, it’s the internal climbing around inside yourself so to speak. Digging into yourself, your emotions, your choices, your experiences to discover who you really are. Processing and shining a light into the darkness that you’ve been ignoring all your life.
I have just felt pulled in so many different directions in my mind, it felt impossible to come here and write some kind of cohesive message. Because I’m working on like 6 things right now. 6 things I’m trying to improve or let go of or integrate into my life. It’s like a 6 ring circus at times or 6 levels of hell in Dante’s “Inferno.”
I don’t think I realized just how vast the caverns are inside of ourselves. Inside myself. All the places we never stop to explore in light of what I’ll call “The Path”. You know the one, you’re probably on it, right now. It goes little something like this: You are born to parents, they raise you in some manner, you go to school, then graduate to go on to other school usually. You pick a field of work. You get a job, along the way you find a partner. You get married, have 2 kids, find some hobbies, and settle in.
It’s a nice forward moving linear path. Like a board game. It’s has a sort of reassuring comforting quality to it. You believe you know where you are going. Occasionally, you make choices, different house, different job maybe, but usually all similar. No huge variances. It’s the trajectory that American humans chose decades ago before when life was simpler. One forward moving motion without a lot of mental gymnastics.
I was always kind of on “The Path” except I didn’t really successfully chose a field in college. I wasn’t focused enough or taught that this is the place where you are essentially choosing your life. The gravity of the situation escaped me. I was distracted and wild and really had no idea who I was or what I wanted. I was also running from my mother and all the stuff that I pretended had done no harm to me. I realize now that I was scattered inside myself.
I’m not sure how many of us really know what to do with ourselves at the age of 18-22. But many seem to and go on to move on down “The Path” without any hesitation to lead perfectly regular uneventful lives. Successful is what we call that. And content and comfortable. It’s suppose to be a nice life. And I think we all want a nice life, don’t we?
The internal landscape of my soul has seen a fair share of trauma. I think many of us could say the same. I wasn’t raised to cope with life and basic life challenges. I realize now that I have allowed fear to guide many of my decisions in life. And I’ve tried to stuff all of of the things into the holes of my soul. Because something has always felt missing. I was unaware that I’m the one who has to do the work to fill those in. I’m the one who has to love me and care for me. I’m the one who has always been choosing my path. I’m the one who needs to know who I am and how this puzzle of a soul fits together.
I realize now that I was on “The Path” but have now strayed out into the adjacent field. And there are a lot of people wandering around out here. The divorce put an end to my comfort of knowing the future and now I need to make new choices. The divorce also cracked open a door that has led me to explore all my other decisions in life.
This is where I’m stuck right now, maybe stuck isn’t the right word. My therapist said yesterday that I’m doing all the inner work, but am hesitating to commit to action. The question is, “Why?” I think that up until May of this year, I had just come to believe that there were no other choices left for me, and now I realize that’s not true and it feels overwhelming. Or like a bad joke.
The weight that all choices can fail or succeed in rather equal measure feels strangely daunting. I’m not sure that I’m scared to choose, but rather don’t want to choose wrongly. Or make a decision that leads me nowhere. Or in truth, I may just not be ready to move yet in some aspects of my life…it’s a mystery right now, I don’t have any answers yet…
Every morning as I walk out my front door, the last thing I say to my fur kids, specifically my dog Lou, is, “Be good, take care of everyone, and make good choices.” And I actually smile just writing it, because how absurd is it to tell a dog to make good choices, right? I say it half teasingly not as an admonishment to her. But at the same time, I couldn’t be more serious. And it’s possible that in the absence of a house mate, I’m speaking to myself as well in that regard.
I believe all animals make choices. I’ve watched both my cats and dogs debate toy selection in a bucket. I watched Ramona navigate her way around the dining room table when I have a lap top plugged in so she doesn’t trip on the cords. I can see her doing the math in her head. And I see them pause before interacting with one another, particularly across species. They are definitely choosing.
It’s just their lives are a much simpler narrative than our own. There are fewer options when one doesn’t have to have a career or negotiate life lodging. Or find fulfillment or great love. They just need nourishment, a place to sleep, exercise, someone to love them, and essentially you have the story arc of a dog/cat life. Right?
When I first met Lou, it was during the time our beloved Leni was dying. I was reading this book, and it’s one of the only stories I’ve read where a dog tells their part of the story along side the humans. The dog’s name is Almondine, which is Lou’s middle name, because I have hopes for her to be a great sage like soul someday. She still has “energies” that she cannot control, even at the age of 5. Her decision making paradigm seems to still be challenging at times. Much like my own.
Do you think you know a good choice when you see it? Besides the obvious, how do you know you are making a good choice? Or the right choice…how often do you think about it before you choose?
Right now, I feel like I’m in a board game, like Candy Land. Do you remember when humans used to play board games, and not just things like Cards Against Humanity? There was Monopoly, Clue, and Risk to name a few. The games made you think before you chose, you had to strategize your movements against the luck of the dice roll. Pretty much just like life, right?
There are things you can control and all the things you can’t and I find myself right now standing on one little game square and where in the board games, there’s only one path, I’m surrounded by like six optional paths. I’m pretty sure, “The Path” is not among those options. I also seem to feel that if I choose one to transverse all the others will disappear or maybe I feel I might get lost again when I recently have realized that despite what I say, I think I am just now found.
I think I’m finding myself and maybe when that’s closer to done, I’ll make a move…I’ll let you know.