April 5, 2013
Traveler, There Is No Path by Joanne Ladley
Those of you who know me know that one of my favorite quotes is from Machado: Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.
I’m not sure why this quote is so intriguing to me. Maybe it’s because left to my own devices, I am a planner. Whether it’s my calendar, my business’s strategic plan, my financial retirement plan or my plan to be sure I exercise, everything has a time and a place. Sometimes I think it’s the only way I fit everything in. How else would I get it all done?
Planning is a very productive exercise. We’ve all heard that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” And there’s some truth to that. But planning can sometimes give us the illusion of control. And the accomplishments that come from careful planning can give us a false sense of security.
Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out and I’m struttin’ my stuff pretty proudly because I’m right on target with my plan, something happens to remind me that I’m really not all that special and I don’t know quite as much as I thought I did. Something completely unexpected wreaks havoc with my plan – the stock market crashes, I sprain my ankle, the car breaks down to mention a few minor examples. Once again, I learn that important lesson of humility and perspective. I am reminded I am not in control after all.
So I pick myself back up, dust myself off and start putting one foot in front of the other again – start walking a path. Sometimes I even close my eyes and put out my hand and allow myself to be led by a God who deserves my trust. Those times of humility and blind trust, where I have no plan but to listen closely and keep putting one foot in front of the other have led me to new and exciting places.
New paths often start out slowly, there’s caution in newness. And with caution comes time to be careful, to think things through deliberately and to consider consequences. Making new paths doesn’t happen when I’m on auto-pilot thoughtlessly rushing from one thing to the next. I can be more aware when unproductive habits start creeping back in to my new routine.
Soon, I’m on a more familiar path, out of the fog and ready to start walking a little faster. The joy of a new path takes over and the excitement of exploration kicks in. Before I know it, I need a plan to keep it all in check.
Just be careful, I tell myself, the best laid plans…