Collecting Forks, Making Decisions (Location: The Traveler’s Road)

Experience is based on our personal choices, and we can bring as much or as little choice into the matter as we wish.

Life revolves; as the motion of the sun, as the pleating horizon and its contrasting hues from light to darkness and back.  The individual, from one’s perspective, is the traveler.  And upon all travels, there is a road to follow.

This road is full of choices. Which fork will you choose?

This question came to me long ago as an adage.  I was young, say nine years old.  It stated thus: “If there’s a fork in the road, take it.”

And I laughed.  I laughed until it hurt.  Who would put a fork in the road, and why would I want to take it?

It was a phrase filled with ridiculousness to my budding imagination, but one of deep wisdom as I grew into understanding.

The quote was read to me out of a book written by Pat Riley (one of the top ten NBA coaches of all-time according to NBA.com) entitled The Winner Within. I now see it in its full light.  I can taste the fork, the food of life from the past, present and future.  The flavors of choice.

The Life of a Student

Paris—its ancient European splendor discovered on one’s lap in the finest literature or upon the walls of the most selective galleries.

Five months I signed my life away and gave my word to family, friends, and Paris—I would be a student of the City of Lights.  But five months for the traveler is eternity.

The French classes, the home-stay with a lone parisienne woman, and the intense independence of a traveler buried within his consciousness.  The forks were many, arriving and departing, offering me choices in all directions.

Stay in Paris: the marooned traveler locked in a conceived commitment like a child to its bottle.  Return home: my mind, body and soul thirsted for a rest within familiarity, before the dusty lane of a lingering wanderer caught his scent afar once again.

I couldn’t help but sink beyond the mind-fuck of options into a wordless image of the road, where long curving paths travel outward, into movements of the unknown, guiding to new towns and hostels.  Flavors constantly pushing onward.  Possibilities endless.  The road limitless. Where was I?

From the start, way before the birth of my Parisian studies, I collected my forks.  This was my reassurance that I was okay.  Every choice in the road that led to the enrichment of adventure, shaped in spontaneity, was my destiny.  I was not lost.  I was not stuck.  I was on the road less traveled where the unabated borage of questions my mind teased me with was none other then normal brain activity.  I didn’t have to sit in mediation longer.  I didn’t have to eat healthier: rawer foods and purer waters.  I needed to breathe, observe and continue questioning until the choice felt right.  Until I made the decision to pick up the fork and own it.

My present moment—my past and future—rolled into one.  They were in my hand, on the fork, before sliding onto my tongue and across the palate.

The Manufacturing of Commitment

To commit is dedication.  With the soft pavement beneath my feet, as with the crisp steel shaping the idiom’s many forms, I’m dedicated to the life of the traveler.  Time in Paris was up.  I clearly saw my fork and I took it.

A thought is a thought.  Experience it.  Accept it.  Leave it at that and move on.

When a choice is made there’s a manufacturing of commitment.

“I will do this.”

You tell yourself.  You tell others.

There’s a response from all: Yes you will, or no you won’t.

And as word spreads around, a bond is created.  A thought, into speech, turned to action.

However, a choice remains at its origin in that plain thought.  Here lies the trouble: Perhaps you can’t let go.  Maybe, just maybe, you’re stuck because you took it too seriously, so whole-mindedly that there was nothing else to stand in its’ way.

A thought is a thought.  Experience it.  Accept it.  Leave it at that and move on.

Return to the Road

Although I thought about Paris from its conception, where I shared it, created it as my reality, and experienced it’s artistry for five months; whose commitment was it?

It was mine and I could change it.

Remember Cameron, you have the fork.  My conscience was speaking clearly.  You picked up the fork.  You own it now.  This is your life to decide what to do, when to do, without questioning why.  Feel your way through the flavors of destiny.

I stopped, took in a breath, and experienced the current circumstances.  A perceived commitment, which never existed, vanished for good as my path along the road became unblocked.  I let go and my movement proceeded, far from Paris.

No, I’m not married to any single thought.  I never was, and I never made a commitment, except to that originating decision to do it.  But then there is another, and another, and another, from the past, into the future sitting before me on the plate of the present moment.  And with my fork, I decide where, when and how I live this moment.  As my road evolves and revolves, new choices are made, affecting the current life circumstances.

I don’t allow someone else or something else to begin collecting my forks for me.  They’re mine.

In other words, it all comes down to this:  Bundled in a ball, simple enough for a nine year old to play with, Pat Riley continued, “Don’t let other people tell you what you want.”  Deliberately take it upon yourself to recognize and embrace your life’s choices.

Remember:  If there’s a fork in the road, take it.

 

 

The Art of Spiritual Travel (Location: Your Soul)

You’re at home.  Priorities, concerns, handling of money and dealing with the collection of physical accoutrements placed before you.  You observe life, you fall into it, and then suddenly one day a choice presents itself.

You feel a desire to leave everything: your work, your friends, your life behind.  It is the inevitable moment of choice: shall you choose the same rigorous routine, or a whole new dream, unknown and only imagined.

Which will you push aside?

There was the time in my life when the choice arose.  I remember it specifically: I could have shrugged my shoulders and assumed that playing the role of a “normal” life is what I had been selected to play; or I could have instead dropped everything and disregarded the responsibilities that beckoned me into a deepening well of apathy.

I regarded the two choices (go with it or change it) with all my senses, and then I threw them aside.  I decided to follow the choice presenting the illimitable possibilities within this world.

I listened to my heart and soul and disregarded the insignificant.  I dreamed of travel.  I yearned for the freedom of exploration.  My heart and soul whispered of tales abroad among a new life of transformation.

It was simple.

I packed the few possessions I thought I needed and left with a flexible ticket to the Orient.

There, I realized I didn’t need anything I had first suspected, and so I emptied my sack of all the perceived necessities and placed myself in the hands of my new environment.

With my mind lightened and my worries about necessities eased, my awareness expanded off the pack upon my shoulders to my surroundings.  This observance immediately came full circle, returning me to an original recognition of the potential that rested within.

Suddenly, traveling became an immersion into inner experience.

My lifestyle transformed from the ordinary railway line of dead-ahead tracks that began with my birth — to that of something entirely different.

Prior to my traveling transition, I longed to see as far ahead into the future as possible.  From as early as I can remember to as recent as the present day, society told me what to do, where to go and what to aspire towards.

I was assured through this dependence that the highest education and the most respected career would bring me happiness.  The future was what I needed: that was where my happiness lied, and subsequently, would forever be.  I sincerely believed it.

But then my lifestyle became an inner journey.

I no longer strained to peer into a remote future, but stopped far short and inhaled.  I breathed in the present moment and realized that in this very slice of existence—right before me, existing nowhere else—happiness prevailed.

Travel, and the immersion into an inner experience, begets more and more—and more—travel.  It’s not an addiction.  Nor is it a habit of escapism.  It is a transformation of lifestyles.  True travel is a place of opening yourself to the processes of inner journeying.

It is laying down the arms of ordinary life and undertaking a new style wholly involving oneself and the world abroad.  It is a return to the recognition of who you are, where you came from and where you’re going within the mass of global evolution.

I was traveling and this was my dream.  With this simple decision to follow my heart, I reclaimed my own destiny.  Without it I was not myself, and with it I could do anything.

My life became a spiritual journey.