“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days at the end of strings that somebody else pulls.” -Howard Thurman
I’ve never been very good with directions. When I first moved to Nashville, I relied for the longest time on Google Maps to get me from point A to point B, even when navigating the simplest route through my own neighborhood. And this past year? I can’t even list the number of times I’ve gotten lost in a rental car in some state I’ve never visited before. Or better yet, in the middle of a run. Call it poor planning or an abundance of distractions, but navigation has never been my strong suit.
The Thurman quote above was the focus of our yoga practice this morning at Shakti, and it continues to resonate as I think about my intention for this huge upcoming change in my life this year. (moving to New York for graduate school next month, in case you missed it!) I’m standing at the edge of this massive shift that feels impossible to predict or quantify, and at times it can feel like I’m about to drive right off the map and into uncharted territory. I have no clue where I’m going and even less of an idea how to get there. It’s refreshing and exhilarating but equally nausea-inducing. It feels like a profound disruption in the reality I’ve created for myself here, and despite all my wishing, there is no real way to prepare other than diving in headfirst.
I wish we were all given compasses to help us navigate life, for the periods when things look too cloudy or convoluted to know how to proceed. Wouldn’t it be ideal to have a tool to fall back on when you’re tired of trying to figure things out on your own? Although true north is a fixed point that stays constant, our relationship to it changes, and sometimes it can feel futile to keep pushing forward when you’re so turned around you’ve lost your footing. Half the time I feel like I’m headed the opposite direction of where I’m trying to go. How am I supposed to reach the end goal when I can barely see around the corner? This has been a season of real loneliness, questioning and a lot of guesswork about what comes next. In truth, most days I feel more lost than ever and just about ready to settle into something that feels easy and consistent.
But what I do know for certain is this: I’m staying engaged. I refuse to sit static as a measure of comfort, and I refuse to let fear stand in the way of forging ahead. I’ve been feeling far too often lately like I’ve lost agency, like the choices I make and the goals I set are born out of something other than my own heart. Is it all part of an effort to regain a sense of purpose? Probably. But what I want to avoid is getting stuck in a pattern that goes against the grain of my own soul. I want to make choices that are fulfilling. And in the midst of so many rumbling foundations, sometimes small steps forward are the best I can manage.
So here’s one truth that feels undoubtedly my own:
I’m moving north.