Nuria Armengol – Journal de Voyage 7 Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“The path that takes us straight to its destination is a dull one indeed. It carries only the one message and when we have read it, we have read it. The winding road, however, is a continuous story. Each bend is a mystery and rounding it a discovery.”
In this post I reflect on this and related issues.
- The Concept Of Life As A Journey
Maurice de Vlaminck – The Road to Longny. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“It is a common saying, and in everybody’s mouth, that life is but a sojourn.”
The metaphor of life as a journey is an age-old one. It is a helpful concept, in that it relates our lives to experiences of discovery, growth and learning, which are characteristic features of many journeys.
We are sometimes told to ‘follow the right path,’ yet there is no one path. We must each find our own unique direction to move through life, a way that is right for us and us alone.
Attempting to ‘advise’ another to follow one’s own chosen path is an imposition and an intrusion into the other person’s life.
We can only be there to try and facilitate that other person’s journey, if asked and required.
Justyna Kopania – Untitled  Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“I know there is no straight road
No straight road in this world
Only a giant labyrinth
Of intersecting crossroads”
Federico Garcia Lorca
bumps road . .
“We often cause ourselves suffering by wanting only to live in a world of valleys, a world without struggle and difficulty, a world that is flat, plain, consistent.”
The huge ‘bump’ that is the pandemic is painful and restrictive to us all, but there have been and will be, lessons learnt.
Each of us has, inevitably, discovered something new, about self, other, the world.
“So all a man could win in the conflict between plague and life was knowledge and memories.” Albert Camus
“Life is a journey that must be travelled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.”
the bumps in the road
“Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”
Ola Billgren – Summer Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
Marc Chagall – Rain (La Pluie)  Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
- Paths Of Discovery: Taking Risks.
‘When you lose your path, you get an opportunity to discover a world you have never known! And better worlds are often found this way! Darkness and uncertainty hide presents in itself!’
Mehmet Murat ildan
the road more travelled, Forêt de Bouconne. Simon G. Flickr.
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I –
I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Arvid Johansson – Winter in Paris Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
The painting above depicts the artist and his wife and baby leaving Britain to emigrate to Australia. In reality, this never happened, but he was tempted to leave because of shortage of money.
The couple are obviously nervous about the change in their lives and the journey they are taking. Their expressions appear anxious and worried.
They hold hands for reassurance. They protect their baby. (Find the baby!) It obviously demands much courage to embark on such a new path in life and it looks like this is certainly a bumpy ride.
“Everyone should have the experience of getting lost in life at least once. Part of growing up is learning how to tolerate uncertainty, and when the time is right, to find or create a new path for yourself.”
Finding new paths involves coping with uncertainty and venturing into the unknown, but without taking such risks at some points in our life, we would remain static.
“I have not always chosen the safest path. I’ve made my mistakes, plenty of them. I sometimes jump too soon and fail to appreciate the consequences. But I’ve learned something important along the way: I’ve learned to heed the call of my heart. I’ve learned that the safest path is not always the best path and I’ve learned that the voice of fear is not always to be trusted.”
Many times, we need to find our own way, to discover our own unique and personal paths through life, bumps and all.
“The path of least resistance is the path of the loser.”
H. G. Wells
“A path is made by walking on it.”
- We All Have Different Paths.
David Hockney – Santa Monica Boulevard Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
Ultimately we are alone, finding our individual and very personal paths through life. It is important to respect the different paths that others may take, to value difference and diversity.
There will, inevitably, be meeting points along the road. We will come across other travellers, some who will pass us by, others who will give us a bumpy ride, and yet others who will clear the way, calming and healing us.
Ram Dass described life as a journey, on which “We’re all just walking each other home.”
Each person we meet has some influence on us, leaving an impression on our minds and, at times, in our hearts.
“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.”
Julian Opie – Walking in New York 5 Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“We all come from different paths in life but we can find common ground.”
- The Journey Into The Self.
Escher. Hand With Reflecting Sphere.Wikimedia Commons.
“Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.”
The quotation above is referring, of course, to a journey into the self.
This is a journey of self-discovery, one in which we will hope to get to know ourselves; it is a journey inwards into authenticity.
As Warren points out, above, there are times when this journey is full of pain and suffering. To face oneself is no mean feat.
Salvador Dalí – Moment de transition Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
The journey of learning and self-knowledge goes on until we die. We never, actually get ‘there,’ wherever or whatever ‘there’ may be.
“Its the not the destination. It’s the journey.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Daniel Gordon – Portrait with Shadows and Eyes Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“The only journey is the one within.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
Hard though this journey is, it certainly has its rewards. Without the promise of the rewards of enlightenment, clarity, peace of mind and insight, people would not traverse the bumpy roads of self-knowledge, whether these paths take us through study, research, relationships or psychotherapy.
“Get yourself grounded and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace.”
Albert Savereys – River [1930-37]. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
- Déjà Vu: The Importance Of Life’s Spirals.
“The path isn’t a straight line; it’s a spiral. You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths.”
Barry H. Gillespie
The paths we take through life, whether in terms of therapy, life experience or formal education, are never straight. Inevitably, we will revisit places we have been before, both in reality and symbolically.
Each time we re-experience these places, these ideas, feelings, memories, these facts about life, we learn more, we understand more and we become enriched through the repetition and the new perspectives we gain.
- Perspectives Along The Way.
“Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light.”
Through travelling inwards, we gain new perspectives about ourselves and others. The journey along the road of life gives us different viewpoints, as we move forward into new experiences, new encounters and relationships, new learning.
“Each day, as you get older, there is a new perspective on life. It’s a progression of some sort.”
Majid Arvari – Ray of Light . Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“But to look back from the stony plain along the road which led one to that place is not at all the same thing as walking on the road; the perspective to say the very least, changes only with the journey; only when the road has, all abruptly and treacherously, and with an absoluteness that permits no argument, turned or dropped or risen is one able to see all that one could not have seen from any other place.”
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes.”
- When The Road Feels Straight And Smooth……
Along the way, there will be times when we find places of peace, people we feel happy with, oases of calm and healing. These we must treasure, as the memory of them can nourish us during the hard times.
“Well I know the secret places,
And the nests in hedge and tree;
At what doors are friendly faces,
In what hearts are thoughts of me.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Daniel F Gerhartz – Her Favourite Place. Gandalf’s Gallery. Flickr.
“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”
© Linda Berman
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