On The Road Never Traveled
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us,” R. W. Emerson
We are told that life is a journey, not a destination. A journey is a process; this blog is about the inner process in our minds on this life journey. The inner process going on in our minds will determine where we are going on our life journey. Although I have written about this topic often, this is a current brief review because of its importance today, starting a new year with such uncertainty — the covid-19 virus and transition to a new president.
“Take the road less traveled,” at one time was unconventional wisdom. Robert Frost made the uncommon advice popular. “Two roads diverged in a wood. And I took the one less traveled. And that has made all the difference.” Today, Frost’s advice should be considered impossible. Today, starting a new year with covid-19, we don’t have a choice between the road less traveled and the road more traveled. No one has been on the road we will experience. The only choice we have is the road never taken. There are no road maps, no advanced scouts showing the way — we are deciding on our own.
My rules of this road never taken will not be rational, authoritative rules by some experienced traveler. They are my rules for my journey, mostly personal, intuitive, and unsupported by empirical research. These rules are more like rules of thumb — somewhere between ambiguous advice and fuzzy formulas; and they may need to be reinvented as I go. Following are three recommendations for traveling this journey.
Focus On The Inner Journey. What lies within us.
Remember, “life is a journey.” My perception of the journey determines my travel decisions. And it will make all the difference. Knowing what is going on in my mind helps me understand my decision. For me, what I am doing on my journey is determined by the way I see the journey.
Plan To Take Detours. “The shortest distance between two points is always under construction,” Murphy’s Law.
I want to avoid rigid rules. I believe all rules, like all beliefs, should be flexible. Rigid road rules prevent side trips or spontaneous excursions. But these detours often lead to new discoveries. Detours can be part of my “planned” life’s journey. In other words, my road rules should always be under construction.
Stop, Look, and Imagine. “There is no ‘out there,’ independent of what is going on ‘in here’,”Fred Allan Wolf.
Stopping is helpful because it curtails the rush and helps me to reflect, meditate, and contemplate. Looking at where I am, where I have been, and where I am going is also helpful. But imagining may be the most help of all. This rule focuses on developing the creative imagination, a combination of pausing, reflecting, and forming mental images.
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it,”Yogi Berra