April 1, 2011

“Figure out the Route you take that brings you repeatedly to this place you don’t want to return to. Then, once you become conscious of it, create a new Route—one that will take you to where you wish to go!”

Dr. Jean Houston

That was her challenge. The idea intrigued me. Well-known sayings came to mind such as, “I can get there blind-folded!” and “I’m stuck in this same old rut.” “I’m going in circles,” “Caught in a loop…”

I do indeed know the way to depression and to discouragement so well I can get there blindfolded. Certainly I know the cycle of anger and rage, whether or not I let them out—Button X gets triggered, Responses Y & Z erupt. I do go in circles sometimes—looping through the same lessons, stuck in familiar ruts. My heart is leaning toward the Light like plants lean into the sun. But still the webs of my own darkness cling to me.


Maybe it isn’t about the road or the ruts in the road. Maybe it is simply about waking up.

I am watching the Earth wake up these several weeks now. The snow and ice are shrinking, leaving behind a sludge of dirt and debris. The world that was grey and white and sometimes sparkled under blue skies has given way to a world that is brown and dirty; colorless and lifeless.

But, the other day I found tulips peeking above the ground, wondering if it was safe to come out yet. (It wasn’t. The deer had them for salad.) There are buds on the azaleas. The pussy-willow tips are soft. Everything alive is waking up, however slowly. A few weeks from now the world around me will have transformed itself into a pageant of color and scent. We will put the seed into the ground for the summer harvests of beans and tomatoes, corn and zucchini.

Maybe the more I wake up, the less inclined I will be to keep retracing the ruts I’ve worn sleepwalking the paths of my life’s journey. Surely I have cycled through many figurative winters and springs, summers and autumns. There has been planting, growth, harvest and retreat many times before. My life is not the same and the paths are not the same that I once walked. I have had seasons of being awake, my spirit as alive and alert as the rest of me.

But yet, always it seems I come back to these particular familiar roads that are rutted and in disrepair. It seems the same monsters come out of the same terrible tangled woods in which I am once again lost; I fall back asleep and I am caught again in the same bad dreams.

But I must come here. For it is here, in this place, that the secret of my freedom lives and breathes.

Always when my journeys bring me back to this place, I can go no further. The way is closed to me. But I have always known that it is only here that I will find the way through. Here that I will set myself free. It is here that the Light will transform this dark and tangled part of my Heartscape, here the Healing will flow through the pathways of my mind. And finally, finally it is here that Love will fully bloom and the River of Life will be released from deep within me.

If I could just find the courage to stay awake, here in this place of monsters and darkness.

Perhaps the monsters are really of my own making. Perhaps the only one not allowing me to pass further on, is myself. Perhaps it is easier to follow the same rutted roads and just talk about the Light, than it is to build a new road and live in the Light.

If I could just find the courage to stay awake.


A long time ago I made a decision to get well. I said that I would find my way no matter how long it would take and no one would stop me, not even God. Funny declaration that; why would God try to stop me from getting well? I have often wondered what was rising up inside me that day, as though shaking the bars of some prison cell, a cage perhaps. Why in that moment did it seem that God might try to stop me? Why did I feel like it would be me against the world just to try to get well?

I believe I changed the course of my journey that day; like a river will shift and cut a new path for its flowing to the Sea.


One thing I have learned on this journey of mine, there are no true shortcuts. Those who promise such things have not actually traveled the routes themselves and have no idea where you will end up.

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