The Path Is Made by Walking

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~ Antonio Machado, excerpt from Traveler, There Is No Path
(Trans. Asa Cusack)

Last summer my friend Melodee related a story about centering that stuck with me. When Melodee was a teacher she had a centering bell she’d ring for her students as they returned from recess.

As they flowed back into the four walls of her classroom, wired with frenetic energy, she’d let them get somewhat settled then ring the bell. She’d explained the purpose on day one, so they knew the ringing tone meant for them to take a breath, exhale, and go to the quiet, centered place that was uniquely theirs.

There is No Path

This time of year is alive with energy — frenetic and flowing, excited and solemn, relished and resisted. All kinds of ki flowing in, out and around, so much that we’re not sure what to do with it all. Families celebrating, children anticipating, workplaces buzzing with holiday joy, preparations, and even fear about what the holidays might bring this year.

Recently I was reminded of the Antonio Machado poem, Traveler, There Is No Path, an excerpt of which begins this post. I hope you’ll read the entire poem, as it has a lot to say about living an intentional life.

I appreciated being reminded that there is no path other than the one we are creating each moment, with each footstep into the future, each word we say (or don’t say), each action (or non-action), each breath.

I grew up with the teaching from my elders that there was a “right” path and that I needed to learn it and follow it in order to be successful and happy. I still struggle with being the perfect daughter, sister, friend, colleague and partner.

It’s not a bad thing to want to do good; and I want to be a loving daughter, sister, friend, and mate. And… Each time I center myself I take a more intentional path, more in line with purpose. I move forward from that place that is uniquely mine. Centering helps me find it.

When you find yourself struggling or stressing this season, keep something nearby that reminds you what the season is really about, and what you are really about. Remember that the path is made by walking. Step by step, centering breath by centering breath.

Blessings of the season and good ki!

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Judy Ringer

Judy Ringer

Judy Ringer is the author of Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace and Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict.