Nudges Along the Path

The road through King’s Canyon, California

Last week, I commented on a few lovely photos of footpaths in the woods and started thinking about all the pictures I have taken of rural paths and roads through the years.  There is something reverently hopeful about the sight of them; I suppose that’s why we have so many sayings like take the high road, the road less traveled, finding your own path, and the idea of being at a crossroads.

LaSalle Loop Road, near Moab, Utah

I am not one to push my philosophy of life on others; I appreciate the right of everyone to believe differently. But for the purpose of this post, I’d like to share mine:  Each of our individual paths is leading us to the same destination with unlimited opportunities for detours of our choosing.  Love toward ourselves, our family, and our friends often suffers when we are on detours for long periods. (For example, working at a soul-sucking job, being in an unhealthy relationship, feeding addictions, or other situations that we know in our hearts are not right.) Lucky for us, if we are paying attention, we are often nudged to return from these self-sabotaging detours.

Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask this crucial question: Does this path have heart? ~Carlos Castaneda

View of the San Francisco Peaks from O’Leary Peak in northern Arizona

I arrived at this philosophy through study (during college and beyond), observing others, time in Nature, living & working at holistic centers, Sunday morning lessons, and other personal experience.  Looking back, I can clearly see the nudges provided for me, and they turned out to be huge blessings.

A quiet trail in Sedona, Arizona

In my early 20’s, I took a job at an investment banking firm.  After 3 years of learning the ropes and getting registered, I began working with a seasoned financial advisor who would prove to be the most difficult person I’ve ever known.  Regardless of how busy we were, if things went wrong, he often stormed out of the office, leaving me to figure out how to fix them while conducting business as usual. And some of our individual clients allowed the Dow Jones Industrial Average & the price of their stocks to dictate their moods, phoning several times a day.  When the market was down sharply, they could be really vicious.  I hated – and I do mean hated – every day of it, but did it for the money while self-medicating with alcohol, unhealthy food, and bad relationships.  One day, 11 years in, we were on a conference call to the back office to learn about a new tax deferral possibility for a favorite client. I was familiar with some of the info, and due to the way I conducted my part of the conversation, I was accused of leading the back office person to an unfavorable outcome for our client.  That was it.  That was the nudge I needed.  I handed in my notice a few minutes later.  And it turned out to be the perfect decision, even though, at the time, I didn’t have a clear idea of what came next.

It is important to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed. ~Ram Dass

A butterfly and some cheerful wildflowers line a hiking trail in California

After a period of licking my wounds, I struck out on my own in a very different field – holistic healing.  I had earned my Doctorate, and I was eager to use my knowledge to help others.  I did one-on-one consulting, conducted group discussions, wrote articles for a local health magazine, lectured at various venues, developed & taught classes and workshops, and practiced reciprocal marketing.  Although I worked long days, usually 12 – 14 hours each, I had to dip into savings every month to pay the bills.  During this 2-year span, relationships with my romantic partner, my best friend, and my ministers fell apart.  I began to feel like a failure in every way.  I wallowed in depressed isolation for a while, until another much-needed nudge came in the form of a spiritual epiphany. It inspired me to sell my home and most everything else in exchange for long-term travel.  (Read about that adventure in my post Escaping Normal.)  Again, the outcome couldn’t have been more perfect. (And happily, I have reconnected with my minister friends!)  

Hiking at elevation in Nevada

I sometimes hear people talk about the things they would go back and change on their life path if given the chance.  I wouldn’t change anything.  I’m happy with where I am and who I’ve become, and I know all of my ill-advised detours and redirecting nudges have been necessary components. 

Have you had similar experiences? I’d love to hear about them if you’re willing to share!

A path to a mountain lake in Wyoming

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. ~Guatama Buddha

Blessings on the Path,

Lisa

The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

94 thoughts on “Nudges Along the Path

  1. Your beyond the wonderful essay, Lisa, reminds me of the phrase:

    “All roads lead to Rome.” – meaning that there are various ways to reach a conclusion, many ways to achieve a goal, and many routes to arrive at a decision.

    Thank you for the beautiful landscapes.

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautifully done Sister Lisa, strikingly stunning photos; and the central theme of paths is as I see it timely, because there is but One Path that all human beings need to be on or they will be lost! The choice is either eternal separation from God our Maker with all that is perfect and holy, or to exist in peace and eternal love with God as part of His glorious kingdom! This is how I see it and all paths in this material short lived world are futile. ✝️🕊🙏

    Liked by 5 people

      1. You’re welcome and thank you again Lisa my Friend! So well said too, so concisely put and true; your words ring loud and clear!

        Yes enjoy this weekend I shall and you make the best of it as well, spring is a beautiful time of the year in its own special ways!
        Blessings! 🙏 🌞

        Liked by 1 person

  3. 💜 I Resisted Religion and Beaten as a Child in The Name of Religious and Cultural Discipline, Divorced by a Bitter Lady or maybe I AM Bitter, Fired From Jobs UnFairly, NOW!!! Ascended to 5D+ and Writing; any Questions AnyOne or ARE YOU!!! ALL Muted by Conditioned UpBringing 🔇 👌🏾 😌 😪 🤪 🙂 🔇 🤔 , http://www.ericberne.com 👨🤔 ?

    …💛💚💙…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. 💜 Thank YOU!!! So much SupaSoulSis; there ARE a Number of Movies and Other ‘Fiction’ 🎬 that 🔮 Explore The Many Damaging Effects of Closed Minded Religion and Culture over Opened Minds like Stephen Kings ‘FireStarter’ that was adapted into the Movie 🎬 ‘Carrie’ and The Movie 🎬 ‘Stigmata’ acknowledges Christ Consciousness and Rejects Religion

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisa, I love the photos of your literal paths, all of which look inviting to me. I’ve had various nudges in my life. The opportunity to go to Europe between my junior and senior years in college for almost a year changed my life. Deciding not to teach immediately after graduating took me to Colorado, then to grad school, and finally to Cleveland of all places (I wanted to stay near the mountains) where I met my husband. Obviously that was a big one. Another nudge led me to home school our girls through high school. A job move for my husband took us to Illinois where we met some wonderful friends in a wonderful church. Finally, a message from God (yes, that sounds strange but it was unmistakable) brought us to Arizona just over two years ago, in time to spend time with my parents before Mom passed away in February. The journey continues although I’m not sure where we’ll end up.

    janet

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    1. Wow, these are most interesting, Janet, thanks for sharing! Glad you enjoyed the images. I understand getting a “message from God,” as I’ve experienced that once as well. It has been an underlying nudge for my entire adult life. Hope you’re enjoying a weekend that isn’t too hot! 🌞

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      1. It’s hot enough, in the upper 90’s, but will cool down in a few days and then be in the 80’s. Our torch cactus is starting flower which is always exciting and our prickly pears are covered with blooms/fruit. I got some more yard work done while it was cool this morning which is always a good feeling. You have fun too.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. A lovely post, Lisa. Not many would open up their lives, their journey so publicly; we love you for your thoughts and views. Our lives are so different but with honesty and generosity for all life, we can reconnect with the “enduring earth and the changing weather” (Barry Lopez, Horizon). May I send an email? 🤗😊🙋‍♂️

    Liked by 4 people

      1. In the past, when someone has made a comment and I have been asked to approve it, I’m sure I’ve seen contact details (???) If you’re like me you don’t want to put up an email address here, so let me check and hopefully I will be in touch, privately! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I so loved looking at these beautiful photos!!! Wishing you many blessings along the path! I like to think that the best is yet to come and that we grow wiser as we journey through life. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I have the exact same perspective regarding whether I would change anything if I could – nope. Clearly there are valleys in life, but I think you learn from them which makes you better prepared in the future. Replace those learning moments and who knows what really bad decision or left turns you might have unknowingly made in the future. If you are focused on changing the past you’ll more than likely find yourself in a “Monkey’s Paw” situation. To be honest one of the scariest moments in my life was seconds before I chose to press the web button that officially notified my company I was retiring. 31+ years in a highly stressful IT architect position in a fortune 50 company had become part of my DNA and letting it go was a struggle – leaping forward a year – best thing I ever did since asking my best friend to share my life. It’s the nudges that keep us on the right paths.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, B, thanks for sharing your experience. Learning from the detours is certainly important. I understand the fear, as I almost always question myself repeatedly, for long periods of time, prior to changing course. Humans weren’t designed to thrive in a super-stressful environment like our past work environments. Leaving it behind is a huge, healthy transition. Plus we have time to blog. 😁🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It is such a beautiful and through provoking read I’ve read today.
    I really like your perspective about this-

    “I wouldn’t change anything.  I’m happy with where I am and who I’ve become,”

    Everyone goes through the nudge and have different perspective about it, but have the same destination.
    You’ve clicked some beautiful photos. I loved it 😍

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Love this post, Lisa…and yes! There have been many “nudgings” sometimes full-on thumps to the head 😉 And, like you, I have never once regretted any of it! Sure, there have been times that were really difficult and also some things I might not be so proud of. But each and every morsel has brought me to this place that I AM right now! And I simply love my life…
    Hope you have an awesome week ahead!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Lisa, thank you for sharing your experience. It is truly inspiring. I do think we need to pay attention to those “nudges”. Our growth awaits around its corner.

    I always appreciate your writings, knowledge, and experience. 💗💗

    Liked by 2 people

  11. How wonderful of you to share your story with us, Lisa. You are an inspirational human being, and I am so grateful to know you.

    It is quite miraculous to be at a state of awareness where we can look back, reflect, and understand that it all happened as it was supposed to, which requires working through the pain and trauma. I’ve had similar experiences in the private sector, went back to school at 33, earned a Masters, let go of the PhD, and found myself right back in a leadership role. Yet, with a very different attitude and emotional state. I get that I am serving right where I need to be, even on the difficult days. Thank you for creating the space for our reflections. It’s such a pleasure to resonate with you. Have a gorgeous Sunday! 🌼

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This post is full of wisdom and beautiful photos! I could relate to your story because I went through a painful time with my sister that left me feeling down for about two years. Finally, I picked myself up and started paying attention to the nudges that were all around me and I started my own business.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a rich journey you’ve had because you were willing to listen to your heart! We all have different talents within us, and it’s up to us to find the path that brings forth the best within us. Be well!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Your stories are always so rich and touch our souls through your experience Lisa. I love the trip and your gorgeous pictures. You have a giving heart that never treads on anyone else’s way of living. Beautiful! 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Your philosophy sounds like the real deal! And I ❤️ your road pictures! That trail in Sedona is beautiful – I wouldn’t mind walking right there now!
    I’m in total agreement with you – I’m happy where I am and if I could, I would not change a thing (even the ‘bad’ things that happened, prepared me for the road ahead).

    Liked by 1 person

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