re-picturing THE JOURNEY

I’m tired. Sweat blurs my vision. The sun and humidity feel especially oppressive on this Nebraska summer day. I’m strangely impatient when my sweet, curious Azura (our 2-year old yellow lab) veers off the path to investigate a rose bush or stops to leave her yellow calling card next to the fire hydrant. My legs are screaming with the uncomfortable mix of burning and itchiness that comes from running after my exercise hiatus.

I focus on one step at a time. If I think about the next step or the next step after that, I may just quit and slink home. It is difficult to find the strength to muster another step when I think about the hundreds of steps still in front of me.

I’m reminded of a poem by David Whyte that Meghan read to The Tribe during that magical meeting in Manzanita. That moment feels lifetimes away right now.

Start close in,

don’t take the second step

or the third,

start with the first


close in,

the step

you don’t want to take.

This makes sense to me. When you are overwhelmed moving forward on a goal or dream, focus close in on the first step. But I’m wondering…Can you be moving in the right direction when you don’t know where you’re going? When you feel directionless. When you don’t know what your dream is?

I flip the question over in my mind for what feels like the millionth time, but no answer comes.

I’ve been feeling a little (okay a lot) stuck these days. Stuck at work. Stuck as an artist. Stuck in life, I guess. My immediate reflex with this “stuckness,” this lack of direction, is to make a list. Yes, a list will fix everything. I figure out what I want and lay out a step-by-step manual for getting there. A clear road map to go from point A to point B. I have made thousands of lists in my lifetime.

My current problem is that I don’t know where I’m going.

Can you be moving in the right direction when you don’t know where you’re going?

I am reminded of Agnes de Mille’s sage advice.

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.

So, I run. I send an e-mail. I write a blog post. I take a picture. I plan a new study. I’m thinking about taking singing lessons. These are the first steps. Toward what? I’m not sure. But I keep doing them because deep inside I know that I must continue on the journey, even though the destination is unclear.

  1. I feel like we are on the same wavelength today – I literally just found, and tweeted, this quote: Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. (Pema Chodron). It is so hard for me, too – to let go of the notion of the big picture, to release the security of a well-planned path. But it’s also the only way … at least that’s what I believe. xox

  2. The next step. Yes. And then the next one. I trust in your journey. I trust in your not knowing right now. I have to…because I don’t know either, but I do trust that the Universe is unfolding exactly as it should. xoxo

  3. Oh my sweet Sarah, I think you grow stronger with every step, and I love to see you taking them. The not-knowing gets me too, I have faith that we are always on our right path, always learning what we need to, and if we are lucky, we don’t have to do it alone. Sending lots of light babe. 🙂

  4. is it wrong of me that all i can focus on is your SHOES !! i love them. and i think that every step is important and takes us somewhere that we can’t always predict and there is great beauty in that, in the doing and that yes, the universe is unfolding exactly as it should … xo

  5. I keep looking at the photos of you and me — talking on the beach that last night in Manzanita. Please know that while you may not know where you are going, your presence on this planet is meaningful enough. Sometimes just being — reacting to what falls in front of you or stands next to you — makes a huge difference in the universe. Thinking of you and feeling grateful.

    • Tara
    • June 30th, 2011

    Thanks for your honest reflection. I love it. And I love your shoes!

  1. July 1st, 2011

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