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The Road Ahead

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The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the Door where It began,

Now evermore the Road does lead

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with weary feet

Until It joins some larger Way

Where many paths and errands meet,

And whither then?

I cannot say.

–  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

I had some difficulty formatting this poem from The Hobbit for my recent post on “Better Beginnings,” yet it is so apt to our monthly theme of “The Call to Adventure” that I repeat it here as I recall the poem from my initial reading of The Hobbit some 43 years ago.

I first memorized and used this poem when I was 19. I was adventuring for the summer of my freshman college year in Yakutat, Alaska.  I worked at a crab and salmon cannery there that summer. I was traveling with a good friend, Barb. One day—which became one of many similar days—we were hiking some five miles along a dirt road through a primeval Ponderosa Pine forest that led to a beach unpeopled for hundreds of miles.

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The Forest was higher, I realized as I walked along that primitive pathway, than the skyscrapers of New York City. In the City I would feel daunted, but in the Forest leading to the Ocean I felt connected with the whole of Nature and Life Itself.

I started reciting “The Road” song that Bilbo Baggins wrote (as I recall the story from way back then) in The Hobbit. It mirrored directly the experience I was having as Barb and I trekked through the primeval Forest.

The ROAD goes Ever ON and ON…

Down from the DOOR where IT Began…

And EVER MORE the ROAD does lead,

And I must FOLLOW, IF I CAN…

PURSUING IT with weary feet

Until it joins SOME LARGER WAY

Where many paths and errands MEET,

And whither then?

I CANNOT SAY.

Reciting “The Road” song from The Hobbit over and over again like a mantra while walking hours through a remote Alaskan pine forest became prophetic for me of my entire lifetime of spiritual adventure and travel. Within a year of returning from this Alaskan odyssey I discovered a spiritual path (Eckankar, which does not necessarily endorse the ideas I express in this blog) which has brought much freedom, love and joy into my life.  I discovered this path first in a dream of returning on a bus from my Alaska adventure, then connected outwardly with my spiritual path less than a week later after encountering a woman who was in my dream! I have followed that Road ever since.

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Here is a creative technique I offer that I have been using myself this week.  Close your eyes as if to daydream (enter a light contemplation state). Imagine THREE ROADS leading off slightly to your left, ahead forward, and slightly to your right (imagine more than three if you choose; this is for you to develop as you please).

Explore each pathway with your imagination; where does each Road lead? If these represent alternate futures (which is how I have been envisioning them this week), which is the Way for you to go forth in your life in order to realize and fulfill your deepest sense of life Purpose and Mission?

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images are from pixabay.com

Maybe one of these pathways is your current best way forward, but the others might hold potentials to integrate into that direction, so your path forward does not have to sacrifice one set of qualities or values in order to embrace a greater Whole.

I welcome your comments and stories!