“Across the broad continent of a woman's life falls the shadow of a sword...
On one side all is correct, definite, orderly; the paths are straight, the trees regular, the sun shaded; escorted by gentlemen, protected by policemen, wedded and buried by clergymen, she has only to walk demurely from cradle to grave and no one will touch a hair of her head. But on the other side all is confusion. Nothing follows a regular course. The paths wind between bogs and precipices; the trees roar and rock and fall in ruin.” ~ Virginia Woolf
Despite her ominous tone, I believe there is a lot of truth to these words by Virginia Woolf.
I've always chosen the more unconventional path and there has certainly been confusion and ruin, but also great fun and adventure (and that's the kind of life I want to live).
So let me ask you, what side do you choose? Do you follow the more conventional path or the road less traveled?
If, like me, you follow the less traveled road, you've chosen the one with the most uncertainty, where the unknown is greater, the risks are higher and the path unpaved. And THAT can be hard sometimes (believe me, I know).
So how do you walk this path -- the unconventional one -- with grace, ease and joy?
The way that works for me and my clients is to shine some light on it.
I like to imagine I'm walking on a dirt path in the woods at night. There are roots to watch out for, limbs scratching my calves and unknown creatures off in the distant shadows.
BUT I have a bright flashlight, and I can use it to see ten steps ahead. For every ten steps I take, my light illuminates ten more. All I have to do is take the ten steps I can see right in front of me, and trust that my light will shine on the next ten ahead.
I also like to find friends who will walk with me in the dark (they've got their own flashlight).
So if you choose the shadow of the sword that isn't well lit -- get out your light, grab the hand of a friend, and take the steps you can see -- the ones right in front of your face -- until your light illuminates the next ten steps.
Eventually you'll make it to the clearing (and you'll do a little dance) where you can look back and see how far you've come, and how each step connected to the other to get you there.
Keep stepping, keep shining your light and find a friend to walk with so it doesn't feel so scary.
No one likes walking alone in the woods at night, even if you have a flashlight;)