All paths are the same, leading nowhere.
Therefore follow the path with heart.
~ Carlos Castaneda
The story of this quote and how I consider it my guide in life goes back a few years. In 2005, I was in counseling at a crisis centre. My counselor was a kind man with a quick wit. I guess he’d have to have been considering how I was so messed up in my head. I had some really twisted ideas about me and my place in the world. He taught me that my life, my presence had value in other people’s lives whether I believed it or not.
At one session, he told me a story about seeing a motivational poster on a colleague’s wall. It said “Follow the path with heart.” He said that when he first read it, he read it as “follow THE PATH with heart”, meaning that there was a specific path that we’re supposed to follow and do so wholeheartedly. It didn’t make sense to him so he asked his colleague why the poster was up for all the see. This colleague set him straight by reciting the whole quote as above.
There is no right path for anyone. There are thousands of paths our lives can take, and all of them lead essentially to nowhere (read: death). The choices that you make in life will determine your path. The key is to choose the path that appeals to you; that is your path with heart. My counselor and I had been discussing the pressure I put on myself to do what everyone around me expected me to do, whether it was the job my parents wanted me to do, or the role I played in social situations, or the very idea that because I am “A” I should do “B” instead of “X”. I was losing sight of my wants and needs. This quote summed up what I needed to do to find peace within myself.
A few years later, I got a tattoo based on this quote. Awesome tattoo artist Steve Elia designed the image. He really captured my style with the filigree work. The loops and curls represent all those paths that lead to nowhere, and even though I told him I didn’t want a cheesy heart in the design, he managed to sneak a hint of a heart in there. Steve’s known for his portrait work, and his skill in shading and colours came out really well in my tattoo. At the time he was working at ElectroLadylux in Vancouver. Last I heard, he was working in Edmonton. (Edit: I think I found his facebook page. Looks like he’s in Toronto now.)
All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. … Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.
About a year ago, I looked online to find the full quote. That’s it up above. So it’s a little different than the short version that I’ve relied on for 6 years. I think the idea is still there though. Today is an apt day to be thinking about this quote because I’ve been questioning some choices I’ve made over the past 12 months. I needed the reminder today that I will find my path with heart again.
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