By Cindy Yantis
"I've finally decided my future lies beyond the yellow brick road." ~ Sir Elton John
I think a lot about that road.
In a “60 Minutes” interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tony Award-winning creator of the musical HAMILTON, Lin-Manuel talked about attending a school for gifted children. He said he looked around and everyone was smarter than him, he was “surrounded by genius, genius kids.” Charlie Rose asked him, “So why do you think I’m sitting here talking to you and not one of your classmates?” He said, “I picked a lane and started running faster than anyone else.”
“I picked a lane!” That lane led to the intense hard work and dedication that made him a true pioneer, recreating the modern Broadway musical. And, man is he ever in his purpose.
One morning, on a recent trip to Costa Rica, I woke up at Rythmia Life Enhancement Center to take a stroll at dawn. I was in the middle of a truly transformative week, and that morning, full of questions and reflection, I came upon a labyrinth, just as the sun rose.
I’d seen the labyrinth when we arrived and knew I wanted to take spend some time there.
I took off my shoes so my bare feet could feel the Earth as I slowly walked the Labyrinth. The design of a labyrinth is such so that you continue walking on the singular path, trusting and following where it leads. I did this, pausing in the center for a 2-minute sun gazing meditation – easier said than done, staring into the rising sun – and then continued on the rest of the way until I exited the other side. What surprised me is when I first looked at the labyrinth I thought the path led one way into the center, when in fact the course took the opposite direction. It made me think about how often we look ahead, trying to second-guess an outcome rather than just trusting the plan. I felt something shift in my thinking about process, trust and letting go.
The small stones poked the soles of my feet and it took concentration to surrender to the sometimes painful rocky path, knowing full well that sticking to the very clear course of action laid out in front of me was the best way to get there. Hmmm.
It’s just so simple. We make things so complicated at times. We get busy, so busy trying to see our next right move and many times, when seeking answers outside of ourselves, we follow someone else’s lead down their road, ending up chasing a goal or dream that was never ours to begin with. Then, we lose our way, our path becomes less clear, albeit hidden behind something other than our own truth.
It Becomes Clear
That little exercise on nature’s labyrinth gave me a glimpse into how clear the path to purpose really can be.
The next morning I walked the labyrinth again, this time wearing shoes. And, I had to laugh. With that simple aid and ally, shoes, the path was ever so much easier to walk. I still felt just as connected to the journey and actually leaned into it with more clarity because I wasn’t focusing on any pain or obstacle in my way.
I noticed someone watching me from across the campus and interestingly I started second-guessing myself. Judging. Was I doing it right? Should I have started from the other direction this time? What is that person seeing in me right now?
It got me thinking about how all that's outside of the labyrinth, the path, our purpose, are things that are just that, on the outside. They can be allies or distractions or are simply others feeling their way along their own labyrinths.
- Pay attention to the signs along the way
- Receive aid from the allies
- Learn from the distractions and
- Keep going on the singular path: trusting, believing and living in that glorious place of curiosity and purpose.
Sir Elton John introduced some new songs at a recent special one-night concert in LA. He definitely picked a lane! Traversing a melodic labyrinth that after 5 decades has given us a soundtrack for many of our life moments. He closed the night with a soulful rendition of “Yellow Brick Road,” as nearly everyone in the audience sang along.
And, then in a satisfied gravel of a voice, he said, “Follow the road, Baby. Yeah.”
So, pick a lane and follow the road.
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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com