There Is No Road Ahead, Episode 92

Posted by Thirdspace on July 9, 2019 in Archives

Our lives are made more difficult than they might be by our insistence that things should be a particular way that we’ve imagined or seen in the lives of others. What would happen if we compassionately let go of the idea that there is ‘a path’ for each of us to follow, and committed instead to taking one step into the wild unknown at a time? A conversation about time, gratitude, practice and turning into the flow of our lives with Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

Here’s Episode 92 of Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify

One of the ways in which we so easily add needlessly to the difficulties life brings us is our engagement in comparison – with the lives of others, and with the life we imagine we should have or should have had. There’s no way round it: the life we have is, exactly, this very life, and the question we might most powerfully and kindly ask is ‘which way now, from this moment, now?’

Making the path by walking it is a topic beautifully taken up by Lynn Ungar in her poem ‘The Path’, which reminds us that there is no way life is meant to be, only what we make by living. And it’s this truth that forms the basis of our conversation in this episode.

The Path

Life, the saying goes, is a journey,
and who could argue with that?

We’ve all experienced the surprising turns,
the nearly-impassible swamp, the meadow
of flowers that turned out not to be quite
so blissful and benign as we first thought,
the crest of the hill where the road
smoothed out and sloped toward home.

Our job, we say, is to remain faithful
to the path before us. Which is an assumption
as common as it is absurd.
Really? Look ahead. What do you see?
If there is a path marked out in front of you
it was almost certainly laid down for someone else.
The path only unfolds behind us,
our steps themselves laying down the road.
You can look back and see the sign posts—
the ones you followed and the ones you missed—
but there are no markers for what lies ahead.

You can tell the story of how
you forded the stream or got lost
on the short cut that wasn’t,
how you trekked your way to courage or a heart,
but all of that comes after the fact.

There is no road ahead.
There is only the walking,
the tales we weave of our adventures,
and the songs we sing
to call our companions on.

Lynn Ungar

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash