A Spiritual Journey from Shame to Celebration
This series of books, A Spiritual Journey from Shame to Celebration is written not as a roadmap of spiritual directives, but rather as a guide to encourage you to make your own path of discovery and Divine connection. On a typical map you’ll always find the easiest routes from _________ to _________. However, comparing a map that shows a whole country or a whole state on one page or two, is vastly different from the detailed local county map of the same areas. Stretching across the landscape, at times so easy that it becomes a rather monotonous and tiresome means to reach a destination, the Interstate highway offers the fastest, most convenient, least bothersome way to travel. Racing past the unique energies of small towns, points of interest both historical and attractive to the curious mind, bypassing all but boredom, the superhighway is a vital piece of the “rat race” of a lost society, taking people quickly from nowhere to nowhere.
The secondary routes take more time, but you get a whole lot closer to what is along the way. The smallest lines on the map are always the slower ways to travel, yet they will take you to a connection with all you see rather than appearing as a blur out of your car window. The back roads of the country or the side streets of the city offer what the fastest route never can. Whether stopping to let some cows cross the road, pausing to look the homeless person in the eye with genuine compassion, talking to someone you’ve just met for the first time, creating more adventure as each new encounter with life opens possibilities and connections, the road least traveled offers far more than the road most traveled. Then there are the trails for traveling on foot, hiking through a magnificent woods, sitting down to rest on a boulder that has been there for a few million years waiting for you, stumbling over that unseen piece of nature you didn’t see because your attention was fixed on the beauty all around you, slipping here and there with a bit of glee in the midst of uncertainty, navigating a course around the trees or through them, and stopping to enjoy the cool shade they offer rather than the air-conditioned enclosure of your car. Streams, boulders, animals, trails, waterfalls, light and shadow all offer themselves as possibilities of adventure and delight. Without the “need” to hurry, hurry, hurry, which route would you choose? Where are you going so fast? Why is hurrying such a dis-ease? Is it the goal or the escape that drives you most? When have you last stopped to “smell the roses,” take a deep breath and consciously disconnect with the distractions that demand your attention?
In this volume and the other 9 in this series, my attempt is to provide you with a “road less traveled” as Robert Frost wrote of in his poem. The Road Not Taken.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden back.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
This insight from Robert Frost describes my own journey in so many ways. I have an original painting on my wall that beautifully depicts the scene in his poem. I’ve inscribed it with “Two Roads Diverged In A Yellow Wood…” The two roads, for me, was the road of the church and the road of the Aramaic Jesus. The church road was a theological superhighway from the “state” of a sinful world to the “state” of bliss in heaven. Jesus’ road is the beauty of personal transformation that changes both the destination as well as the path of life we travel. I took the road less traveled…and that has made all the difference for me.
As I write this book for all who would dare choose their own path through the woods, I will point out some roads, some trails, some things to see and some to avoid, but the path you take is your path! Walk it with delight and expectancy to find your own Divinity, your purpose, your unique way to express your highest Self, and be who you’ve come here to be. Do you remember?For many people, to follow the “path” that someone else made years ago probably seems to be the easiest way to get through the forest, but it certainly isn’t the most adventurous, the most rewarding, or the most valuable. No one else’s trail can be what meets your needs best. Many prefer the easy way because that seems to be the safest way to get through the woods. But is safety the only criterion for trailblazing? Let the fearful stay home and die on the porch if that feels best to them. I’ll take the blazing of a new trail any day. Neither would I dare run through a forest blindfolded. That is sheer stupidity. I prefer to have my eyes wide open, be as prepared as possible for the journey, and then gain the experiences that can only come from blazing my own trail. All that is well and good when talking about a physical trail through a real woods. This book is about finding a different kind of trail. When Emerson said: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” he was speaking of two issues. The first is that of refusing to go only where others have gone and being satisfied with that.
The second is that of blazing our own path and leaving behind us what is valuable for others who would learn from us and at the same time blaze their own trail. This is what I wish to accomplish with the message of these books. The trail of others was never right for me. And, my life has been enriched by the hundreds of authors I’ve read, all the people I’ve known, friends, acquaintances, and even people I haven’t liked (my temporary enemies). Yet there came a time for me to blaze my own trail, to take all of them with me, and to keep learning more and more. As I learn, I can share with others who will choose for themselves as they mark their own trail through life, finding themselves on their journey back home. My wish for you is that you will gain much support from this book and the others in this series. I know you will. Then, I want to challenge you to go beyond where I’ve gone, learn more than anyone can teach you or share with you, and become a light for others to follow as they decide which trail to follow and when to move out on their own adventures.