This blog is in response to the statement above that I saw on Twitter. It cannot be answered adequately in 140 characters so I decided to blog my answer. The answer reminds me of one of my travel stories.
It was our first trip abroad and we went with a church group for 3 weeks in Great Britain. I had found a book that listed stone circles and was determined to see some of them even though they were not on our itinerary.
We were in Wales with a few days of free time and I wanted to find a stone circle in some small town. Can’t remember the name, but Welsh names aren’t written for you to remember them anyway. We had to rent a car. This was before GPS, and there are so many small roads and wrong turns in Wales, that maps are merely a suggestion on how to get somewhere. We managed not to get killed even on narrow lanes with huge farm tractors coming around corners with no side strips to pull off into. And we didn’t kill each other while trying to decide who was going to kill whom with their driving.
We finally found the town that had a special stone circle on the top of the hill (sorry, the names are long gone). We stopped and asked directions and the nearest we could understand the English with a Welsh accent was to follow some trail that was just up the road. We found the trail and started our adventure across the fields and hills of Wales. We lost the trail within minutes and wound up going up the hill while climbing over barb wire fences and wading through streams and hoping the sheep and cows did not take offense at our presence.
After 45 minutes of hiking and sweating and being quite lost, we made it to a farm house that was two thirds of the way up the hill. This was at a time when The Travelers were adding to the ire of Welsh farmers by camping on their land, so trespassers were not looked on kindly. We got to the door and explained our plight and how we were looking for this stone circle. As near as I could tell, the answer was to walk back to the village and drive around the mountain and stay off their land. From the sad looks on our faces, the farmer stopped in mid-sentence and said, “You are Americans, aren’t you?” We nodded, woeful of our ignorance and misadventure. Then he said, “Alright, you can walk up the hill on my farm but don’t tell anyone I gave you permission.” Then he gave more directions in Welsh English and I only understood half of them, but I was going to make it to the stone circle. My heart is thankful to him every time I think of this story.
There were 2 or 3 stone circles on the hill and we picked the one on the very top of the hill. It was about 10 feet across and the stones were sit down height so we could eat our lunch while sitting on the stones with the most beautiful view of Wales before us. We did our meditations and thanked the stones in the bright sunlight that still shines in my memory like a beacon to a lost home.
Now we had to get back to the car without going back the way we came. It was a straight shot down the mountain to the village but we would have to travel through the farmlands of people ready to shoot trespassers and barb wire fences waiting gleefully to impale our tender parts. Off we went with many prayers to the Goddess to protect us on our journey.
Well, we not only survived but made it back to the hotel in Cardiff just in time to get the dinner included with our tour. Shoes covered in sheep leavenings, sun burnt, tired, thirsty and very happy adventurers who were quite glad to turn in the rental car.
My purpose in telling this story is that it wasn’t so much courage that got us there and back but more determination and persistence. If you can’t find courage to reach for your dream, start with determination and persistence. Make a goal that points you in the direction of your dream and then follow through with the steps that will get you there. Make a plan. Make several plans so that when plan A doesn’t work, you can go to plan B or C or D.
Create an altar to the Virgin Mary or Ganesh. Pray to all the gods or goddesses you think might be listening. Trust in your own spiritual power to synchronistically bring into your life what you need to proceed towards your dreams. There is a farmer somewhere who will give you directions. There is a path that looks tricky but you can follow it home.
Writing and putting it out into the world needs you to be vulnerable and confident at the same time. It’s like getting undressed in front of an open window. Will they notice your not quite so thin thighs? Or will they see the warrior goddess shining in the night? Maybe you need confidence rather than courage. I believe in you. I say that sincerely.
I will never know if we did find the mystical, magical stone circle described in the book. Sometimes our journeys take us to where we need to be rather than where we want to go. Sometimes the path is so convoluted that we want to give up but we have traveled so far that it’s too late to turn around. Sometimes we need to just be where we are and enjoy the view. So write and put it out there. The journey awaits you and there are adventures to be had. I will travel with you. My heart rests in your heart.