I was in a funk this week. Finding it hard to write. Struggling to come up with ideas. Feeling generally uninspired. So I went for a run one day to change it up. I took a path I knew but went further than I had run before.
I found a new end to my old, comfortable path. It was lovely. It surprised me. You see the path I knew (and had run before) ended at a meadow. Yet, if I looked further (and closer) there was more path. I followed it. It actually ended at a lake.
Yet, if I looked even closer, there was a small offshoot to the path just before it got to the lake.
How interesting. The question of ‘what to do’ confronted me. Do I return to the path I know? The path I have run before. I return with new knowledge. New perspective. Does that change the experience of staying on that same path?
Or, do I take the offshoot path? Do I see where that path leads and keep pushing further off the path I know. I feel certain that path will eventually lead me back towards the path I know but not in a clear or predictable way. It’s a new path, you see.
So, what to do?
If I were my own best friend I would draw out those paths and tell myself to think about how they apply to my life. I can run the path I have run for so long. It is familiar. It is comfortable. I return to it with new knowledge (the path goes all the way to the lake!) which may change my experience as I run back on familiar ground.
I can run the path I’ve never been on before. The offshoot. I don’t know where I’ll end up. I don’t know the course. I don’t know what hills, rocks, mud, and obstacles will be in my way. I don’t know what treasures I will find. It’s new to me.
I took the offshoot path. The offshoot path went even further along the lake, eventually following a river, to another meadow, and a forest, and another path… In many ways I am still running on this offshoot path. Uncertain what comes next but trying to stay open and flexible, lean into the corners, and continue to explore.