unexpected paths, part 1

You may have noticed that I’ve been mostly in absentia for the last month or so. It’s been quite the series of events, and I’m still getting my footing, but here I am, with some beginning thoughts on recent events.

The condensed version is that I’d had a persistent cough for a while and had begun to be short of breath doing things like walking up the basement steps. (I might not be dancing full-time anymore, but I walk the trails regularly with my dog, and I still choreograph the occasional musical theatre production, so I’m in relatively good shape, so this was not not normal.) I finally went to an Urgent Care, where they took an X-ray and saw a bunch of stuff in my lungs that shouldn’t be there. The thing was, no one could agree on what it was. Fast forward…again, condensed version…it took three weeks, a lung biopsy, and a week in the hospital to finally diagnose me: Continue reading

following the path you can’t see

IMG_7082Umstead State Park, Raleigh, NC  – Photo by Viki Atkinson

There’s a quote that’s been around for years, something along the lines of “growing old ain’t for sissies.” I’d like to propose that living your life by following (or trying to follow) spiritual guidance ain’t for sissies, either.

That stepping out in faith thing? A lot of the time it’s like that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in which he comes upon an impossibly wide bottomless abyss that he has to cross to continue his quest—only there’s no bridge or Tarzan swing or anything that might help him do that. His only option is to take a step out over the abyss and hope like hell something will happen to help him across. When he finally does step out (spoiler alert!), his foot lands on something solid—invisible, but solid. So he takes another step, and he makes it all the way across on an invisible bridge that never would have shown itself if he hadn’t taken that first trusting step.

For five or six years now, I’ve been feeling as though I’m being led to and prepared for some…purpose…and yet the specifics of that purpose remain elusive. Continue reading

quote du jour ~woodward

I have learned that the path is not a physical one and there is no map to find it; rather, it is an idea that dwells in each of us, waiting to be awakened.

~Forest Woodward

trust and the threads of time, part 1

I’ve been juggling a lot since last spring. Some of the juggling has had to do with external, day-to-day stuff out in the physical world, but most of the juggling has been in my mind/heart/spirit/soul. I’m creating what is, at heart, a completely new life—saying goodbye to some things, hello to others, and trying to figure out how to tweak still others and keep them a part of the whole as I go forward.

To be honest, I’m a little worn out from all the changes in my life over the last few years, and frankly, I’d just as soon take a break. My faith and trust muscles have been getting quite the workout. However, a couple of things happened in the last week that have shifted my perspective, albeit in an odd, out-of-left-field kind of way. This post is about one of them.

Last Saturday, I bought a rug for my living room. Mind you, we’re not talking about a major purchase here. I have a small cottage, with a small living room to match, and I’ve never spent more than $100 on a rug. As a lifelong independent/freelance artist, my decorating budget has never been large, which has, shall we say, encouraged me to be creative in more ways than one when it comes to furnishing my home. Luckily, my taste has never run to “new” things, and I love doing DIY projects, so I’ve been quite happy to inherit furniture from family and friends and buy shabby thrift-store-furniture-with-potential, as long as the pieces suited my personal style. I’ve ended up with a home that I like and that visitors regularly call “warm and inviting.”

The rug I bought from Target six or so years ago was a perfectly nice rug when I bought it, and I received a number of compliments about it over the years. However, it’s lived through the usual pet accidents and incidents and a fair amount of general wear and tear during that time, and it’s been looking pretty sad for a while now—rips and tears and places where you can see through to the backing. In the last few months, it started to smell musty and old, like it had been slept on for many years by my dog (which, of course, it had). It was time for a new rug.

Before we get to the new rug, however, I need to back up and tell the story of the amazing Restoration Hardware chenille throw. (I know this post probably sounds like it belongs on a home decorating blog, but bear with me.) Continue reading

quote du jour ~beck – heroes aren’t free…

Heroes aren’t free from fear; they’re just so focused on a worthy goal that they feel they can’t turn back. Heroes don’t feel special, just dogged. They walk their scary paths with shaky knees and trembling hands. One shaky, trembling step at a time.

~Martha Beck

note to self (7)

Do not fret over the places where you don’t “fit in” or the people who don’t accept you or connect with you. These are indicators of your path as well, showing you where you are not supposed to linger or expend your energy. Love these people and places while you are with them, but allow them to flow away, to recede, when it is time for you to move on. Take with you the learnings they bring you, but do not cling or wonder why they do not stay.

~pathwriter’s guidance journal

a path less travelled

img_0824.jpgWalking trail, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC – Photo by Viki Atkinson

I don’t remember exactly how the name pathwriter came to be. I was creating this blog, and it had to have a name, and I probably had a thought about writing being a part of my path…or writing being a way to find my path…or something. I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy on trying to navigate my personal/spiritual path these last few years, so I guess the name wasn’t a big surprise.

Along the way, I’ve been drawn to walking literal paths as well—the Poet’s Walk at Ayr Mount in Hillsborough, NC; the paths in and around Forest Hill Park and along the James River in Richmond, VA—and recently, I discovered the trails adjacent to the North Carolina Museum of Art here in Raleigh. I’ve been there probably six of the last ten days, and I love the fact that I can drive ten minutes from my house in the city and be walking in the woods. There are some paved paths that are great for an easy stroll (and strollers), but the ones I love are the ones that take you down into the woods and are “paved” with only dirt and gravel and leaves.

Of course, with a blog named pathwriter, I’m always on the lookout for “photogenic” paths that I can use for the blog’s header image. I’ve found a few over the last couple of years, and the museum trails have quite a few lovely spots that I’ve documented. Anyway, I thought it might be fun to share some of my path photos here from time to time, so here’s one from the museum trails to start things off. I hope you enjoy looking at my paths as much as I enjoy walking them.

excerpt du jour ~the white-robed monk

Sitting in stillness
Breathing.
Breathing
At the depth of stillness,
Something stirs in me.
It draws me
Out of my stillness.
It stirs in me
And draws me on
To explore what I know not.
I rouse myself and follow it.
I go with it
Not knowing where. Continue reading