Following Your Unique Life Path
I had a really weird dream last night. I dreamed that I was in a parking lot with a woman.
I don’t know who she was and I couldn’t see her face. But she was clearly quite pregnant. She said that she was about to have her baby and she needed my help. I was no medical doctor and I was concerned, but I placed my hands on the top of her belly and firmly pushed down. I felt the contents of her belly flow smoothly down and immediately a baby landed on the pavement.
At first I was afraid that the baby might be hurt, but it looked fine, it did not cry, and it was rather large and long.
When I awoke and remembered this dream, I also vaguely remembered another dream I had the previous night. It also involved a birth, though I don’t remember the details. What I do remember is that the baby was born alive and apparently healthy, but it didn’t cry. I remember being concerned that it needed to cry to exercise its lungs.
So, why am I telling you this?
Well, dreams can be a very important insight into what’s really going on in your head. They are your unconscious mind’s way of working out issues and suggesting solutions. They can also be a way that your mind lets you know that it has accomplished something.
What did my dreams mean? I can’t be certain, but I have an idea.
First, they had nothing to do with real births or real babies. As a guy, babies don’t have the same meaning for me as they might for a woman.
I think that these babies symbolized the birth of something new inside of me. The resolution of an internal conflict. The beginning of a new approach to life.
As I walked around the grocery store with my young son today, three words came into my mind. “I Am Here.” Doesn’t really sound very profound, does it. Of course I was “here.” In the grocery store. So what?
But the words felt different.
Rather than a statement of fact, the words “I am here” felt like a claim of personal space – words of defiance and pronouncement.
I am here, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Others can try to influence, or even coerce me. They might even kill this body. But I don’t believe that others can have any meaningful impact on the true essence that is me.
Scientists say that the only constant in the Universe is change. But I think there is one thing that is absolute and forever unchanged. And that is the essence that is you. Perhaps it is the part of you that is closest to God. Whatever it is, it is here, now, and it has as much right to be, to live, to celebrate, and to lay claims, as any other essence.
Maybe, for the first time in my life, I internalized the message that avoiding conflict and discomfort are not a valid life strategy. Focusing on not upsetting others is not any kind of life worth living. Focusing on serving others out of fear and not generosity is the death of anything inside of you that is worth being.
Of course, all of this is as true for you as it is me. And we all hear it. But isn’t it unfortunate how long it can take our emotions to accept it?
The first step to success, to personal happiness, to being an awesome parent and partner, is laying claim to your own life. This means letting go of fear. Fear of death. Fear of displeasing others. Fear of failure. And doubt of your worth.
All people start being worth about the same. We are all born naked. What truly defines our worth, and our greatest “success,” is what we do after that moment. I honor the impoverished who manage to pull themselves up and make a better life far more than I honor a wealthy and powerful person who does little more than manage not to screw up what they inherited. That is, it is what we do with what we are born with that most accurately paints our life portrait.
I have written here before about the fact that I spent most of my youth avoiding conflict. I was a “passivist.” And this wish to keep the peace has been with me for a long time. Unfortunately, it has also prevented me from pursuing what matters most when the road might seem to lead to conflict.
I now believe that the measure of a person is their willingness to claim their place in the world.
And this place is not static. It includes the path that you must follow to fulfill your destiny. If something, or someone, is standing in that roadway, there is usually a peaceful way around the blockage. But if there is not, then God help them.
To deny another their place in our world is akin to denying their right to exist.
And, occasionally, two objects try to occupy the same space at the same time. Each minding their own business or, perhaps, intentionally barreling toward each other. Either way, the outcome is the same. And that is how it must be.
When I am walking down the road, and another approaches me, I enjoy stepping aside to let them by. I enjoy honoring others and their unique journeys. This action on my part in no way inhibits my progress in any significant way. And the act of honoring others is in effect the act of honoring us all. And it is easy to do.
It is actually hard to really get in another’s way if they have any creativity or flexibility in their character. There are so many ways to achieve that we can all live together in harmony without much of the conflict we see every day.
We merely need to honor the beauty that is the unique life path that each of us follows.
I like to think that we are all the same person, just celebrating a different aspect of the universal personality that is God, and at a different place in our single journey. That when I look at another person I am actually seeing me, but living a different life at another point in my continuing existence. That makes it easier to understand why honoring others is so important. In doing so I am simply honoring myself and my life path.
When others fail to honor your path, you must not defer to their actions if it diminishes your life path.
In the end, you must follow your life path. You must continue your journey. Because you and your life path are one. And those who would deny you deserve to fear the consequences. They are misguided. And you have no duty to enable their errant ways. Rather, you have a duty to teach them the correct way to live by your own example.
I wish you a smooth and carefree life path. But if it is not, never deny who you really are, or the path you know you must follow. Not for anyone. Or any reason.
And that is all I have to say about that.
All the best to you as always,
P.S.: What do you think? Have you ever had dreams that were actually epiphanies? Or that signaled some significant signpost in your life? Tell us about it! I’d love to hear!