The Other Path

After the mythical phoenix burns down, it is considered to be the archetype of The Fool that rises from the ashes in the resilience to begin again.

The Fool archetype is traditionally depicted as the court jester in Shakespeare, for example. They are the one who has an ability to speak truth to the queen or king, because it is delivered with disarming, if not ridiculous, humor.

However, it is also The Fool who sees a potential future where others may not, who leans into the unknown, takes risks, believes against the odds, who lives by her or his own knowing, and later becomes the archetype of The Sage for the wisdom gained.

After all, isn’t it the most colorful characters in life who’s stories you will sit at the feet of to learn and listen? Those stories were made with ingredients that couldn’t be predicted, of course. They were also made with risks, fearlessness, trembling, hope, courage, grit, and simply a feeling, as much as strategies and well laid plans.

You will likely be The Phoenix and The Fool many times in your life with endings and beginnings for various reasons. Some after long seasons of life and others at the end of a day when you drop old ideas of yourself because of an insight.

“…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
~ Robert Frost

In people with heart issues, sometimes as their arteries are developing blockages, their body will make new arteries around the blocked ones in order to keep the blood flow going. In life, there will often be “the other path.” The path you took and the one you didn’t. The job, the house, the person, the opportunity. The one that said no at the time, and the one that said yes.

Funny thing with choices. When you close off one direction because you’ve made a choice for another, new paths are built and revealed where there were none. Life is continually responding to you, with more life. By trusting it, those paths become visible even while the other path seemingly disappears behind you.

I imagine that the road less traveled by that Frost refers to is the one that made sense to his inner wisdom, his own heart at the time. Perhaps the one dismissed by the crowd or the tribe or the team or common sense. And he’s reflecting on its reward.

“The time will come
Where you will need more
And when you do
Don’t settle for less.”
~Morgan Richard Olivier

I met a woman by the river the other night, sitting on a bench and quietly crying as the sun was dipping below the horizon. I asked if she was okay. Formerly accomplished, life’s recent events made it feel as if she had nowhere to turn, no motivation, not enough resources, and she was in that moment praying for help. She couldn’t see a way out and was trying to forgive herself for past choices she didn’t make.

She didn’t need forgiveness. What was there to forgive? She had made the choices she needed toward more life at the time. Her paths looked blocked in this moment because, without realizing it, she was carrying the burdens and blame others had externalized to her and was trying to solve them (impossible), leaving her in a precarious and dark position.

It is a poignant and powerful difference to discern between the responsibility you have as creator of your life and blaming yourself or trying to solve what isn’t yours.

Freed of the burdens, blame and perspectives that didn’t belong to her, her path, possibility, and motivation began to open up again. Her heart felt full. New roads will be revealed in her new state, by the choices she’d made as The Fool for her own well-being.

I don’t know where she will go with it, but restored to The Fool again, what is certain is that new directions will be built and revealed where there were none.

“Be the fool for the love of your own life.”
~ Shelley Hawkins, Monday Wisdoms

Here’s to more of You making an amazing world,

Shelley

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