Sunday, June 8, 2014

Exploring less traveled roads

I've been thinking about life. How it twists and turns and manages to surprise us no matter how carefully we try to plan our future to fit our dreams.

Has anyone lived the life he/she planned? It occurs to me that little American girls dream of growing up and having lavish weddings to handsome men, giving easy births to obedient children, living in a mansion on a hill with a vacation home in the mountains or on the beach, and.... well, you get the picture.

I look at my life and those of the women I know, and I see the complexity of lives that are shaped by the premise M. Scott Peck's book A Road Less Traveled: "Life is difficult." Or as Buddha taught: "Life is suffering." Buddhists believe that when we accept life is suffering, we transcend it because once we accept the fact that life is suffering and difficult, the fact that life is suffering and difficult no longer matters. 

One way to look at life is to see it basically as a series of problems to be solved. Peck says what makes life difficult is the painful process of confronting and solving our problems. However, it is in the meeting and working through our problems that we find meaning in our respective lives. "Problems call forth our courage and or wisdom; in fact, they create our courage and wisdom," Peck writes.  Pretty deep, wouldn't you say?

Of course we're human, so we work hard to avoid pain. We do this by avoiding the problems that confront us. But in actuality we only suppress our pain by repressing our feelings.

Eventually, though, if we are to live fully and grasp the full meaning of life, we embrace the FROG motto--Finally Relying On God, because--at least for me--the way to face the painful hardships in life is to feel them,  move through them, and learn from them. And yes, my friend, doing that takes courage.

In his "The Road Not Taken," Robert Frost writes: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,/And sorry I could not travel both/" He ends the poem with: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,/ I took the one less traveled,/ And that has made all the difference."

The choice is ours. Do we take the road that "appears" safe, or do we go within, to the dark corners of our souls, and learn from our difficulties? Either way, we have amazing stories to tell about the journey, wouldn't you say?

Which roads have you taken that have changed your life and given it meaning?