We aeronauts of the spirit!  All those brave birds which fly out into the distance – it is certain!  Somewhere or other they will be unable to go on and will perch down on a mast or a large cliff face, and they will even be thankful for this miserable accommodation!  But who could venture to infer from that, that there was not an immense open space before them, that they had flown as far as one could fly!  All our great teachers and predecessors have at last come to a stop… ; it will be the same with you and me!  But what does that matter to you and me!  Other birds will fly further!  This insight and faith of ours vies with them in flying up and away; it rises above our heads and above our impotence into the heights, and from there surveys the distance and sees the flock of birds which, far stronger than we, still strive whither we have striven, and where everything is sea, sea, sea!  And whither then would we go?  Would we cross the sea?  Whither does this mighty longing draw us, this longing that is worth more to us than any pleasure?  Why just in this direction, thither where all the suns of humanity have hitherto gone down?  Will it perhaps be said of us one day that we too, steering westward, hoped to reach India, but that it was our fate to be wrecked against infinity?  Or, my brothers and sisters?  Or?

– Nietzsche (with some gender equality thrown in 🙂  )

 

Midway through the journey of my life, I found myself lost in the dark woods.

I was travelling down the path, my path, and it was a comfortable path, but I started to think I didn’t belong there.  The journey had become hard, and I was unhappy.  But I didn’t know what lay off the beaten path, and I was scared to start.  After carefully listening… to the trees, to myself… I thought I could hear a woman’s voice, and it promised me all sorts of things:  health, comfort, power, respect – but only if I was willing to go get it.  I left the beaten path and journeyed into the forest.  I didn’t know where I was going, but I was excited to go there, and I was ready to use my heart as my guide.  Whatever spoke to me and made sense to me, that’s the direction I would go in.  I could find the core of me, and rebuild using only those pieces I wanted, if I only listened to myself.

It wasn’t long after that that first voice faded, and I was now moving purely on habit and guided by instinct.  It was just me and I was alone, but I wasn’t by myself.  I had thought the journey would be like a bird flying across the ocean – there was no path and no direction and any other bird I saw was company, because we were all flying across the ocean.  When there is no path, every path is right, and all that matters is that you try.

But it isn’t an ocean, it’s a forest.  And it’s full of people and life, and everyone is moving in a different direction.  There were now a million paths, and I wasn’t really sure any more where I was headed.  I was no longer the same person.  I had changed, and everyone told me so.  Some people liked it, and some people did not.  Friends went away, and new friends came.  My heart had grown strong, and some days its beating was the only sound I could hear.  Some days it wanted things other people didn’t want, and I kept following my heart, at cost to others.  If everyone is moving in a different direction, then every direction you can pick must be wrong to someone else, and all that matters is that you must choose.  I was passionate, focused, headstrong and burned hot.

The journey had become even harder than ever, but I was happy.  I threw myself against the rocks every day.  I was happy with the new me, it was mine and I didn’t have everything I wanted, but everything I had was something I wanted.  Everything I was, I chose.  So did this mean I was done?  I didn’t feel complete.  Every day I woke up hungry, and used that to keep moving.  I had thought metamorphosis was a snake shedding its skin and the process was obvious, but maybe it’s more like a moth in a cocoon, and you don’t know which way is up and you’re totally disoriented, and you never know if you’re free or you’re just in a bigger cocoon.

I was lost in the woods without a map.  I was long past the point of who I wanted to be, but it didn’t feel like I had arrived yet.  The woods were dark and deep and there was no path, and now I belonged there, hungry and strong.

Advertisements