A "Wrong" Path?

By Nancy Rynes, author of Awakenings from the Light

Do you know of even one person whose path through life is straight, on-target, and  uninterrupted? I sure don't. Even if we look at the lives of people we think of as successes we will see twists, turns, and unexpected challenges. Sometimes circumstances will force us to take a detour from our planned route. Other times we don't pay attention to our internal compass and go off in a direction we didn't intend.

Maze photo by Flickr member Adam Heath (Creative Commons license)

In my book Awakenings from the Light, I wrote about the good things that can come to us when we listen to our inner wisdom. What that means is that we simply pay attention to our unique, internal compass that Spirit has given us, which will lead us to our best, most in-Spirit lives. I go through a quick, three-part check when making decisions: what do my "gut'" heart, and mind tell me?  When all three are in alignment, I know a particular choice is a good one for me. If there is disagreement, I do more soul-searching.  

But what does it feel like when we don't listen to our inner wisdom? What happens when we ignore our inner compass and go off in what we think is a wrong direction? And how can we recover if this happens? 

Recently, I was faced with a couple of decisions where my three-part check (gut, heart, mind) didn't agree. My mind spoke to me from a place of weakness or fear, asking me to make what seemed like a very logical and rational decision. This decision involved a particular opportunity that, at least on paper, seemed to made sense to pursue. But my intuition and my heart told me something different. My heart knew the decision to take this opportunity was coming from a negative place and it didn't feel right. My intuition and heart wanted me to pass it by, but I was channeling my old, responsible, pre-NDE self that day. I took the opportunity and began the project.  

Unfortunately, within a couple of days my mind realized that my heart and gut were right. This opportunity and I were not good fits for each other. My sleep became very sporadic, one of my personal red flags that something in my life is off. I went from 9 hours of sleep a night to 3 or 4. For those of you who need a solid 9 or 10 hours a night, you might be able to imagine the state I was in. I started each day with a sense of dread and became overly-emotional from the lack of sleep. I didn't want to face the day anymore and even became grumpy at times (not at all me). All of this  happened because I listened to my fear-filled mind at the expense of my heart and intuition. 

Many of us ignore our internal truth even if we think we have very good reasons for doing so. In fact, I would say that most, if not all, of the angst and drama we experience on a daily basis comes from ourselves – going against our own inner wisdom because of fear When we ignore our inner truth, though, parts of our lives can go haywire 

Sometimes it's good to stretch our comfort zones and try new things, but only if that desire comes from a place of strength. 

As I wrote in Awakenings from the Light, and as I apparently needed to see again in my own life, fear can lead us to make some very questionable decisions. These fear-based decisions can lead to anxiety, drama, and more fear. It's like running on a hamster's wheelSo how do we get make it stop? 

Hear, respect, and eventually follow the guidance of our inner wisdom. 

Sometimes we have to do things we don't necessarily want to do, like pay our taxes or go to the dentist. We have to make a living, eat, clothe ourselves, and have some kind of shelter. But ideally, Spirit wants us to get those needs met by being on a path that fits with our inner truth. The bonus is that the more we can live this way, the better our lives will flow and the happier we will be. 

This doesn't mean that if you're in a job or career you don't like you should quit right now. Please don't :-) Instead, give your intuition, heart, and mind time to weigh in. What are some things that you really want to do? Can you make a living at one or more of them? If not, can you make a living out of something related? *

But don't worry if you've made an unwise decision recently. Be gentle with yourself and take a second look 
  • Is it truly the "wrong" choice? 
  • Are there nuggets of good that you can find in the situation? 
  • If it's really a poor choice, can it be undone now or in the near future? 
  • Can you think about it differently and go along with it for a while? 
  • Can you take small steps to make things better with the choice you made? 
  • Can you take steps that will eventually lead you to a better path? One of love and strength rather than fear? 
  • How can you listen to your inner wisdom better next time you're in a similar situation? 
Being in the sciences for many years has given me a somewhat different take on decision making. In the sciences we're expected to dream up hypotheses, try to solve problems creatively, and experiment. A "failure" isn't the end of the world...it's simply a result from which we can learn. Wrong turns are part of the deal. 
So don't be hard on yourself if you've made a decision that didn't work out. Making a course correction, taking a different path, or changing your mind isn't "failing." You've simply made a decision, taken action, and received a result. Is the result one that you want? If not, feel gratitude for what you do have and change things up in order to bring yourself to a path that better suits you. Just because you tried something and it didn't work the way you intended doesn't mean you're somehow an inferior person. 

In my case, I thought about all of these things. I spent time in quiet solitude in order to let my heart speak to me about the best path. Should I stay on this project for now, knowing it was not a good fit? Could I make it the 6 months of the contract term? Is there something I could do to make it better? And could I let go and allowSpirit to help me?  

Over the course of a couple of days, I realized that I was so poor a fit for the project that not only was it stressing me out to try to play the part, but I felt I was being deceptive to the folks who hired me to perform the work. And as much as I enjoyed the perceived sense of security the position gave me, it was the feeling of deceiving my employer that led me to have an honest talk with them and make a change. 

And guess what? My sleep immediately improved!

*Check out the awesome book Second Acts by Michael Pollan for inspiration and advice on making a career change.

Posted by Nancy Rynes, author of Awakenings from the Light ( http://NancyRynes.com )

All content copyright Nancy Rynes, 2015